Thursday 26 January 2012

TBC: The Hockey Sweater

There are a number of NHL players who will receive a sweater today once they have been drafted in the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, but HBIC is here with a story that all kids should read or have read to them at some point in their childhoods. Teebz's Book Club has been negligent in not covering this book sooner, but here we are today, correcting an error that needs correcting. Teebz's Book Club is proud to present The Hockey Sweater, written by Roch Carrier, illustrated by Sheldon Cohen, translated by Sheila Fischman, and published by Tundra Books. The Hockey Sweater is perhaps the most well-known hockey story across the land, and the message contained in its words is an excellent lesson for kids everywhere.

From the Tundra Books website, "Roch Carrier is Canada’s National Librarian and the beloved author of many Canadian classics for both adults and children. In 1968 he published his hugely successful novel, La Guerre, Yes Sir!. He has written many novels, short stories, plays, film and television scripts, essays, travel books, and poetry. Several of his works have become classics and are used in schools and universities around the world. His much-loved children's story, The Hockey Sweater, remains a timeless favorite. In 1991, Roch Carrier was awarded the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour for Prayers of a Very Wise Child. Among his many other awards and honors, Mr. Carrier is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and the holder of many honorary doctorates. All this from the boy who grew up in a village with no library and no books. Now the village has a brand new library – the Roch Carrier Library."

Honestly, the story of The Hockey Sweater is a fantastic look at a young boy's obsession with the Montreal Canadiens and, in particular, Maurice Richard. The story takes place in a first-person perspective as our Habs-loving youngster embarks on another winter in 1946 with his red, white, and blue jersey with the number 9 on the back.

Of course, with any growing boy, the Montreal Canadiens sweater that he had worn for so long began to grow smaller and started showing its wear as holes and frays began to appear. And like any boy his age, our protagonist's mother began flipping through the Timothy Eaton's catalogue in order to get her boy a new sweater. One letter to Timothy Eaton himself, and two weeks later, a package arrived for our Canadiens fan!

If you've read the story yourself, you know what happens next. I'm not going to reveal the rest of the story or the conclusion here, but the story takes a major turn at this point. It is in this turn that we learn about how deep the passion runs when it comes to following your favorite team.

The illustrations by Mr. Cohen are slightly rudimentary, but very detailed in what they show. The thing I liked best is that all the illustrations are still in their original French, keeping the integrity of the drawings intact. Mr. Cohen's illustrations are an excellent way to have a visual explanation of the story to go along with Mr. Carrier's story of The Hockey Sweater.

The Hockey Sweater is a great read for younger readers. It's only 24 pages long, making it a great option for readers that are just starting their hockey adventures, and the words used in translation by Miss Fischman may provide an opportunity for learning new, longer words! The Hockey Sweater absolutely is a must-have for any hockey literature collection, and it definitely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval for standing the test of time in two languages!

Until next time, keep your stick on the ice!


Anonymous said...

Isn't that on the Canadian $5 bill too?

Teebz said...

There is a passage in both French and English from the book. :o)

It reads: "The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places - the school, the church and the skating rink - but our real life wa son the skating rink."