Four Winds Press (out of print), 1973
Skates! is Keats’s second nearly wordless picture book, after Psst! Doggie-, that features animals rather than people as characters. Young readers are encouraged to participate in the action in their own way by the humorous story and engaging illustrations.
Take a Closer Look
One of Keats’s trio (along with Kitten for a Day and Pssst! Doggie-) of nearly wordless tales of what pets do when people aren’t around. In Skates, the animals are sort of people. The premise is that a pair of dogs, dressed in street clothes, find roller skates in a trash can and put them on. What follows is pages of slips and slides, falls and spins, while tiny kittens, also dressed, watch and scatter. The illustrations show the exhilarating, scary fun of learning to skate, and—in classic Keats style—the value, and joy, of succeeding.
After Skates was published in Japan, the book inspired the citizens of Kiyoshi to persuade their local government to build a skating-rink, which was named after Ezra Jack Keats. Ezra attended the opening as an honored guest.