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Thursday, 3 May 2012

TBC: Puckster's First Hockey Sweater

Teebz's Book Club has been working diligently behind the scenes in reading a pile of non-hockey books in order to reach the goal of 50 books read this year. I won't like when I say that it's been tough to squeeze a number of books in, but I've read some very good books thus far. The goal of 50 books might be tough, but I'm happy to add some easily-read books to that list for Teebz's Book Club. I've been trying to get more books for kids, and I'll be presenting two excellent books for younger readers in the next couple of days. Today, TBC is proud to present Puckster's First Hockey Sweater, written by Lorna Schultz Nicholson, illustrated by Kelly Findley, and published by Fenn/Tundra Books. I think this series, produced in cooperation with Hockey Canada, is a great way to get your rookie reader into learning and reading about the game of hockey!

From the Tundra site, "Lorna Schultz Nicholson grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario. She was a co-host and script writer for an aerobic television show. Moving to Ottawa, she was a reporter for a news show, and a researcher for a sports show, Donohue’s Legends, at CJOH television. Later, she hosted, produced, and wrote all the material for her own syndicated radio show in Ottawa, titled Family Time. By this time she’d had three beautiful children and she moved her family to Calgary, Alberta. There, she did a brief stint at writing magazine articles and a sports column, and a community events reporter for a local radio station." You can follow Lorna on her website by clicking here.

Also from the Tundra site, "For the past six years Kelly Findley has been working as a graphic designer, mostly with Hockey Canada, the largest National Sports Organization in Canada. Prior to working at Hockey Canada, she worked as both an in-house designer with a variety of different companies and for an advertising agency." You can check out other work Kelly has done by clicking here.

We get to meet Puckster and his teammates in this first book in the series. Puckster's teammates include Sarah the fox, Francois the beaver, Charlie the chipmunk, Manny the moose, and Roly the bear. Puckster, Charlie, and Francois are forwards, Sarah plays defence with sledge hockey star Manny, and Roly is the goaltender. Together, this squad of hockey players work on their skills everyday after school once they have shoveled the snow off the ice.

When Puckster reports that he's lined up a game against the Rockets, a team of raccoons that play hard and are a little "mean", it's pointed out by the team that Puckster and his friends don't have matching sweaters! If they are going to play the Rockets, who do have matching uniforms, they have to be dressed like a team! Quickly, the six friends put their heads together and try to come up with a way for them to dress alike.

I'm not going to give away the end of the story. Your little hockey player will have to read the book to see how Puckster and his friends dressed for the big game! Would they find a way to wear the same uniforms? How would they raise money to pay for sweaters if they didn't match? All of these questions are answered in Puckster's First Hockey Sweater!

Puckster's First Hockey Sweater is geared towards novice readers, but I'm quite certain that older readers will appreciate Kelly Findley's attention to detail, especially when it comes to the uniforms the players wear before they try and match. Each of the six players wears a different Team Canada sweater, and all of them are accurate in their depictions. Miss Findlay does an excellent job in her illustrations as the uniforms are perfect in each case! I'm especially fond of Roly's sweater due to the details she includes on it!

Overall, Puckster's First Hockey Sweater is an excellent start to the series about Puckster and his friends. The 24-page story establishes the characters that we'll be following, and presents a dilemma where teamwork is needed to solve the problem. The lesson taught by Miss Schultz Nicholson in Puckster's First Hockey Sweater, along with Puckster's tips at the end, make it easy to recommend this book to children just starting to read. There aren't a lot of difficult words, and there are only a few lines of the story on each so that your rookie reader doesn't feel overwhelmed.

I really like what Miss Schultz Nicholson and Miss Findley are doing in this story, and Puckster's First Hockey Sweater is a great start to Puckster's series. Because of the great writing and excellent illustrations, Puckster's First Hockey Sweater definitely is worth of the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Tomorrow, we'll have the second book in this series as Puckster and his friends take the ice against the Rockets!

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!

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