Writtten by Patrick G. Cain
This book splendidly fulfills its responsibility to its young readers. Skateboarding street can be a dangerous sport, as the author states in the very first chapter, and in an extensive sidebar, he emphasizes the safety precautions that are necessary. “Even though you might not always see the skaters on TV wearing helmets and pads, this safety gear is very important to avoid injury.”
The target readership is pre-teens and teens – grades 4-8 – an age when requests to ‘wear a helmet’ may not always go down smoothly. Wisely, the author backs up his precautions with irrefutable reasons, “For a pro, a bad fall can mean the end of a career. For an amateur skater, a rough fall can mean giving up a favorite hobby.” Skateboarding Street can be a good read aloud with interesting discussions on the incredible tricks that the skaters can perform and the need for safety.
The story traces the development of the sport from its early days to its acceptance as a mainstream sport. It profiles the heroes, both past and present, boys and girls. The history of skateboading is outlined, along with a two page spread showing the elements of today’s skateboard. We also learn that the right safety gear should include a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards.
The last chapter talks about going pro. “Most skaters will never have the opportunity to go pro.” However, most skaters skate for enjoyment, and there are plenty of local competitions to participate in. Many skaters videotape their moves and post the video online.
Skateboarding Street contains many action shots that give a feel for fluid movement and tricks of the sport. A definite recommendation for all libraries and reading lists.