Sunday, June 03, 2012

Surf's Up! Surfer Chick by Kristy Dempsey

“Two birds of a feather, a chick and her dad,
lived by the shore, in a radical pad.

A legend in surfing, Chick’s dad ruled the Roost.
Chick’s dream was to learn every move he produced.”

Chick's dad is a legend in his own time, a really rad surfer dude, and Chick thinks she is now ready to begin to hang ten on her own. She swims like a fish, and she's practiced all the moves on shore.

Now is the time to prove that she's a chip off the old board!

Dad is a little protective of his girl chick, but he finally takes her to pick out her own board, an appropriately pink chick-style, and she can't wait to hit the water.

It's not so easy as it looks, but when Chick finally masters paddling out beyond the breakers, she's ready to master standing on her own two tootsies. But--BUMMER! A gnarly breaker catches her broadside.

It scrambled her focus
and filled her with doubt.
Then slung her to shore
--A colorful WIPEOUT!

Chick climbs out of the water and rethinks her urge to surge. For a moment Chick is chicken. But as she watches her dad demonstrate his smooth moves, courage rises and she bravely paddles out and gives it another try.

And Chick soars toward the shore, feeling all her dad's teachings take over. It's a reasonably righteous run, and Chick even adds a stunt of her own as she rolls in.

"I knew you could do it," Dad crowed to his Chick.
"And all on one foot! Could you teach me that trick?"

Author Kristy Dempsey's rhyming couplets are stoked, breaking just right, but notable artist Henry Cole's comic acrylic and pencil illustrations are totally rad, his surf surging and splashing with such impact that it seems it will break right off the page, and his Surfer Dude dad and Surfer Chick characters, with his trademark goo-goo-googley eyes and expressive chicken moves tell the story all by themselves. Surfer Chick (Abrams, 2012) has a fine-feathered heroine who is a bright and buoyant personification of perseverance and courage on a cute board. A different sort of dad-and-daughter story, just right for Fathers Day for the wet set.

"This is a sweet, spunky story about perseverance and gaining confidence. Totally awesome," says School Library Journal.

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