Monday, February 24, 2014

Morning of Competition

Author Nicolette House at Sun Valley
In Nicolette House's middle grade novel, Maddie Takes the Ice, a young girl faces the pressures of competitive skating along with other travails faced by most everyone her age.    Now that the Sochi Olympics is over, many young readers will want to read more about figure skating.  International ice dancer Nicolette House's Maddie Takes the Ice gives them a front row view of the young skater's life.   Maddie Takes the Ice has been selected for two separate terms of the America's Battle of the Books program.  Favorably reviewed by Jo Ann Schneider Farris on About.comFigureSkating, the book is part of many great reading programs throughout the country.  What follows is the small portion of the book.   
 

Her less-than-peaceful night began with Madison visualizing herself falling on one jump after another, but after what seemed like hours, she could visualize herself landing each jump. Man, I hope this goes well! Please let me skate well, were the last thoughts she remembered before sleep claimed her.
The phone rang with her wake-up call. A groggy Madison felt like she had just fallen asleep. But the instant Madison sat up, she felt a surge of excitement and anticipation. She just hoped the good butterflies would last. As her mom strode around their room, Madison took stock. Unfortunately, the butterflies in her stomach were being devoured by the slugs. The jubilation of being able to perform was disappearing, replaced by the fear of going out there and, well, blowing it.
“Morning sunshine,” Mrs. Albright said. “The bathroom is all yours. Hurry up and get ready so we can grab breakfast before you go.” Mrs. Albright was always cheery in the morning, a trait that Madison had only partly inherited—when she was doing something she loved, like skating alone to music that echoed inside.
After a quick shower and tooth brushing, Madison dressed in her warm-up clothes. Her mom usually applied her make-up for competitions. Madison swirled on foundation and blush, but it was Mrs. Albright’s job to highlight Madison’s eyes to look big and beautiful. Madison’s eye make-up accented their unusual, light honey brown color. The warm hues of eye shadow her mom was using made the eyes pop. As Mrs. Albright painted on the different shades and added liner and mascara, Madison tried to calm down. She didn’t say much, but Mrs. Albright was used to that. Madison became eerily quiet the day of an event, thereby giving nothing of her growing tension away.
 “Done.” Her mother pushed her toward the mirror. “What do you think?”
Madison looked hard at herself. Her mom had done a great job. She looked beautiful—especially for six o’clock in the morning. Despite the frantic moments of, where are the car keys and do we have the music, fifteen minutes later the two finally descended to the lobby. There was a tense atmosphere in the hotel lobby. Lots of skaters—the girls adorned with glittery hair in tight buns and the boys in sleek competition costumes that made them look tall, slim, and older—stood around looking nervous, making last-minute costume checks.
Madison followed her mom to the continental breakfast buffet.
“What do you want to eat?” Mrs. Albright asked.
“Oh, um, nothing. I’m not really hungry.”
“Madison!”
“Not because of that,” She said, annoyed. “I get too nervous to eat before I skate.”
“A little something won’t hurt. How ’bout a yogurt or a piece of fruit? Toast is always good.”
Madison looked over the selection. “I’ll take some toast and orange juice, I guess.” She grabbed a napkin and slid the whole-wheat bread in the toaster.
Madison and Mrs. Albright headed for the door just as Jillian emerged from the elevator. “Jill! Jillian, hi!” Madison waved. Jillian saw Madison. Instead of returning the greeting, Jillian turned her back and stormed off to the buffet. Her mother was right behind her. Madison froze, stunned that Jillian had just blown her off. Jillian looked over the buffet before finally settling on a few slices of fruit—definitely not the right fuel on a competition day. She showed her the fruit to her mother, who nodded approval. It dawned on Madison that Jillian might not be dieting by choice.
“Come on, you’re going to be late,” Mrs. Albright urged...

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