Linda Ashman

children's book author, mom, wife, writing instructor, animal lover, gardener, vegetarian . . .


"Things get a bit dicey when plucky Samantha experiments with her new roller skates in one frightening, hilarious inaugural “roll” through town . . . A memorable first skate by an irresistible imp." Starred Review, Kirkus

"With an ambitious and spirited heroine, “Samantha on a Roll” is full of humor, action and ‘70s-style roller skates." The New York Times, Pamela Paul

"The rhyming text makes this delightful story tons of fun to read aloud. Davenier’s illustrations aptly capture the action with bold colors and plenty of lines indicating motion . . . A fun book for storytime or individual sharing." School Library Journal

"It’s rarely a good thing when a picture book goes downhill, but it sure is in this rousing domestic adventure—at least for readers. Samantha, ignoring her busy mother’s request that she test her new roller skates another day, straps them on anyway: “Sammy stands and rolls a bit./​ Says, ‘I knew these skates would fit!/​ I’ll just try them in the hall./​ Mama wouldn’t care at all.’ ” . . . Working in pale greens, yellows, and oranges, Davenier’s characteristically loose artwork generates a sense of exuberance, motion, and old-fashioned fun, well-suited to Ashman’s lively verse." Publishers Weekly

"Many—perhaps most—picture books with rhyming text deteriorate into singsonginess, with proper scanning optional. That’s why this one, with its clever and perfect rhymes, is such a pleasure to read. Davenier provides fanciful art that captures both the exuberance of Samantha’s skating and the sly twists and turns that keep it a secret from Mama." Booklist, Ilene Cooper

"Davenier’s effervescent pencil and watercolor illustrations are a match for the engaging text, propelling the action forward and conveying the madcap quality of the chaos. With its classic story arc (disobedience leading to adventure ending in triumph), its sustained humor, and its light-as-air verse, this is an audience pleaser readers will want to take for repeat rides." The Horn Book, Martha v. Parravano

"Doing it, getting away with it, getting home: sweet." Chicago Tribune, Mary Harris Russell

Samantha on a Roll

Samantha on a Roll

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Illustrations ©2011 by Christine Davenier. Margaret Ferguson Books/FSG.

See a preview of SAMANTHA right here.

If you'd like to see what SAMANTHA looked like as submitted and/​or after the final revision process, take a look:


"No, Samantha.
Not today.
Please, go put those skates away.
You're still too small.
You don't know how!
And I can't help you -- not right now."

That's Mama speaking. And, no, Samantha isn't about to wait for her. So, while her mother is busy with other things, Sammy straps on the skates, takes a spin around the house, then ventures outside. She's rolling along quite happily . . . until she reaches the top of Hawthorn Hill. Then she starts going downhill. Fast.

Uh, oh.

This is a true story. Except that, instead of a little girl, it was a preteen boy. And instead of roller skates, it was a skateboard. And instead of a skateboard ramp at the bottom of the hill, there were railroad tracks. And instead of the kite which lifts Sammy aloft, thereby avoiding disaster, there was . . . disaster.

Yep, nearly 40 years ago, my husband, Jack, was zooming down a rather long and steep hill on his skateboard. He couldn't stop, and didn't particularly want to wind up on the railroad tracks at the bottom. So, lacking better options, he jumped off. This was before the days of helmets and pads, mind you. Luckily he lived to tell the story (he's got the scars to prove it).

And, all these years later, I got a book out of it. So, many thanks to Jack for the inspiration. I'm also grateful to Melanie Kroupa, who acquired the story before leaving FSG, and to Margaret Ferguson for her excellent editorial advice -- I'm so pleased to be on the inaugural list of her new imprint. And I'm particularly grateful to the wonderfully talented Christine Davenier for her oh-so-charming illustrations and, especially, her spunky Samantha.


Brand New
"A go-to source of calm and comfort." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
In Print
"Altogether delightful." Starred review, KIRKUS
"Excellent advice in a sweet and easy-to-swallow package." KIRKUS
"A memorable first skate by an irresistible imp." Starred review, KIRKUS
"Ashman's concept is both sophisticated and delightful." KIRKUS
"Beautifully crafted and satisfying." Starred Review, BOOKLIST
"Kids will love the colorful paintings while parents will appreciate that it's chock full of facts about the Centennial State." VAIL DAILY
A "lovely reverie on the joys of being alive and being loved." Starred Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"As pithy and clever as Ogden Nash at his best." Starred Review, KIRKUS
"A splendid bedtime fantasy." KIRKUS
Other Titles
"Ashman's poetic portraits are packed with lots of tasty assonance and alliteration." Starred Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Quirky, sarcastic, and rather educational, too." BOOKLIST
"A 10 on the "aw"-inspiring scale." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"A family outing gone hilariously awry." BOOKLIST
"A rip-roaring, exciting excursion." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
An "enchanting ride." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"The clever, rhyming text bounces along with perfect cadence." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A riotous adventure." HORN BOOK MAGAZINE
"Vibrant, playful text . . . excellent for storytimes." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A hilarious look at the world through the sharp eyes and nose of a dog." SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE
"This one's a keeper." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Youngsters will find nothing but comfort in these pages." KIRKUS
"Ashman captures the non-stop action in rollicking rhyme." KIRKUS
A "captivating collaboration." Starred Review, KIRKUS
"A lighthearted look at bad behavior." KIRKUS
Wagmore is "a charming, gentle hero." KIRKUS REVIEWS