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Monday, 27 September 2010

TBC: The Rink Rats

Teebz's Book Club returns today with a goal in mind: more reading for more people. With school having already started, we're approximately one month away from National Young Readers Week, so TBC wants to get a few great authors' names out there for this upcoming week. One such name is Irene Punt, and Miss Punt's newest book, The Rink Rats, will be released on October 1, 2010 for young readers. This is actually the fourth book in Miss Punt's series about a Calgary boy named Tom and his local hockey team, the Glenlake Hawks. I haven't had the privilege of reading her other three books in the series, but I can tell you that this book really makes me want to hit the bookstores to find them. Teebz's Book Club is proud to present The Rink Rats, written by Irene Punt and published by Scholastic Books.

Irene Punt is a former teacher who has transformed her energy in the classroom into an unbridled passion for her subjects on paper. She received a Bachelor of General Studies degree from Simon Fraser University, and took up teaching as a way to give back. She studied children's literature at S.F.U. under David Booth, and developed a passion for writing from Mr. Booth's teachings. Her move to Calgary from Vancouver prompted her to begin writing children's books, and has scribed picture books, novels, TV scripts, and stage scripts. Her other Scholastic hockey books include The Wicked Slapshot, The Funny Faceoff, and The Rotten Ref.

The story of The Rink Rats starts with Tom and his Hawks teammates on a frozen pond playing hockey. They find the ice a little unsatisfactory for skating, and start to smooth it using various methods. Once they clear enough, they find the skating to be much better, and even come up with a new play they dub "The Pinball".

After their next game, Coach Howie announced that the team was still in search for ice time for the Family Game after finding out that the Hawks' home rink was booked. Having played and groomed the pond, Tom, Stuart, Mark, and Jordan had a great idea: use the pond rink for the Family Game! Everyone on the team was in agreement, but that left the boys with the monumental task of preparing the rink in two weeks for the game!

The boys find out that a few kind acts will repay themselves ten-fold as they work their way towards the game. Without revealing any major details, the boys find out that maintaining a rink is a lot more work than they had imagined. With a litte help from friends, though, the rink starts to take shape.

Will February's weather hold up for the game? Can the boys get the ice ready for an all-out game of hockey against their parents? Do they have enough experience to maintain and keep a pond rink going for two weeks? Can they shovel all the snow off the ice to make a big enough rink? Does an offer to go and watch the Calgary Flames play Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Saddledome derail the boys' dream of hosting an outdoor game? All of these questions are answered in the book!

I really like this book because Miss Punt describes some important lessons for younger readers: help from friends and the value of teamwork is important, doing good deeds and helping others does not go unnoticed, and the importance of following through on responsibilities once one has accepted those tasks. The story is engaging, and the illustrations give enough of a picture to help the story along through the 82 pages.

Thanks to the lessons presented by Miss Punt combined with her well-written story and easy-to-read presentation of that story, The Rink Rats is perfect for any younger reader, and would be a great fit for National Young Readers Week! The story itself contained within the covers of The Rink Rats is excellent, and is certainly deserving of the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval! It should be a welcome addition on any young hockey fan's bookshelf!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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