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The Figure Skating Book: A Young Person’s Guide to Figure Skating

by Debbi Wilkes

Debbi Wilkes is familiar to any Canadian who watches figure skating on TV, as she is not only a former Olympic medal-winner herself but a regular commentator on televised skating competitions and host of the program “Ice Time.” She is well qualified to produce a guide for young figure skaters, and her friendly, encouraging voice gives information in a clear but informal style.

This is not a coffee-table book on figure skating but a practical manual, with step-by-step drawings of the various spins, jumps, and field moves an aspiring young skater needs to master. The appealing black and white photographs of young skaters executing some of the moves described in the text present a range of skills, from the toddler wobbling onto the ice to accomplished performers. The Figure Skating Book indeed covers a wide range, beginning with basic advice about the purchase and care of equipment, and moving from “First Time on the Ice” to manoeuvres such as the Lutz jump (“one tough cookie”) and the Camel Spin. It seems unlikely that skaters would progress through the techniques described here with only this book for help, and indeed Wilkes offers suggestions on choosing a club and coach. Providing valuable advice for the beginner and a handy reference for the more advanced skater, Wilkes’s detailed but very readable explanations of how the different skating moves are executed, and how they are related to each other, are also interesting for the mere spectator.