Wednesday, 8 October 2014

TBC: The Wicked Slapshot

I know: hockey started tonight. You don't have to remind me because that's what I'll be watching. However, school started a while back for the vast majority of kids, teens, and college students, and I want to get back to my roots by promoting reading. Reading is a skill that is vastly underrated as a skill but an entirely important skill at every stage in one's life. In saying that, I am happy to have a great contact in today's author. Teebz's Book Club is proud to present The Wicked Slapshot, written by Irene Punt, illustrated by Bojan Redzic, and published by Scholastic Canada. The Wicked Slapshot is all about what kids at hockey camps experience: making new friends and the bond forged through the game of hockey.

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 Rink Rats, The Funny Faceoff, and The Rotten Ref.

Tom is in the middle of a hot August while preparing for something a lot of kids get ready for: hockey camp. The problem? Tom's friends - Mark, Jordan, and Stuart - aren't going to hockey camp with him which has Tom a little down. His mom convinces him that it will still be fun because it's hockey, and Tom eventually walks into a dressing room where he knows no one.

Sitting down on the bench, he strikes up a conversation with a red-haired boy who seems to be on his own as well. Harty, as it turns out, is a great skater who can keep up with Tom with ease, and the two boys form a bond through hockey as they become friends. Harty, as it turns out, doesn't have a very good shot, and Tom feels bad that he can't fire the puck like Tom can.

The two boys become good friends, but find out that they live on opposite sides of the city. On the last day of hockey camp, Tom invited Harty over for a sleepover, and the two boys practiced hockey until darkness fell. The next morning, Harty has to leave to attend a birthday party, but Tom and Harty remain in contact through email.

Months later at a tournament, Tom's Glenlake Hawks are having an excellent season as an undefeated team that is ranked as the top team. The Hawks square off against the Northland Bulldogs who feature a recognizable #66 with red hair. It's Harty! Tom and Harty greet each other as friendly rivals, and the game begins. With the game tied at 0-0 late in the third period, Harty gets sprung for a breakaway. What would happen? Could Tom or one of his friends catch the speedy Harty? Would Harty get a shot away? Would Harty's not-so-good shot even matter?

The Wicked Slapshot is another well-written book by Miss Punt, and the lessons written into the 60-page story are clear and concise. Miss Punt shows that friendship can be found by two people with similar interests, and that being a good friend and showing good sportsmanship is far more important than wins and losses. Tom's actions in The Wicked Slapshot are valid proof of this. Because of these lessons found in the book, The Wicked Slapshot absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

You can find The Wicked Slapshot at your local library or bookstore. The book is listed for just $5.99 in Canada, meaning that it won't dent your wallet too much in order to get your young reader into this story. Pick up this book for your young hockey star to read!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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