Thursday, 30 September 2010

TBC: The Mighty Tim Horton

HBIC really has no affiliation towards the Toronto Maple Leafs, but there seems to a be a large number of books written about the NHL franchise. It has a lot to do with their storied past and eccentric owners, but the players who have dressed for the Maple Leafs have always been somewhat larger than life, especially in the old days. One of those players was the iconic Tim Horton, and his career is examined in a different light today. Teebz's Book Club is proud to present The Mighty Tim Horton, written by Mike Leonetti, illustrated by Greg Banning, and published by Scholastic Canada. This story isn't just about doughnuts, though, and is certainly worth reading.

Mike Leonetti has written a number of hockey-centric books, including Canadiens Legends and The Rocket, both of which were reviewed right here on Hockey Blog In Canada. Mr. Leonetti lives in Woodbridge, Ontario, with his wife, Maria, and their son, David.

From his bio on his website, Greg Banning "is sought after by major advertising agencies in Canada and the USA and he has now worked with clients in the UK. One of Greg’s most notable illustrations was his re-imaging of the iconic 'Brawny Man' for Brawny Paper Towels". Mr. Banning has worked as an illustrator with a number of publishing companies, and has illustrated five of Mr. Leonetti's books including the one we're reviewing today. He's currently working on his own book in New York with Harper Collins. For more information on Mr. Banning and his work, please check out his website here.

The story of the mighty Tim Horton surrounds the play of Trevor, a big, young defenceman who liked to use his size against smaller players. However, we find out that his reckless physical play begins to affect his team as they lose a game with Trevor sitting in the penalty box. He vows to change his game, and looks to his favorite hockey player for inspiration: Tim Horton of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Even with the changes he was making, Trevor found himself on the bench more often as his coach avoided putting him out at the end of the game with the score close. In December while on a fund-raising initiative, he was selling Christmas cards door-to-door when he happened to knock on the door of the house belonging to none other than Tim Horton!

Trevor and Tim discussed the problems he was having in high school hockey, and Tim left his with four tips that were written down on the back of his order form. Trevor left Tim Horton's house with more than just a sale of a box of Christmas cards. He now had advice from one of the best defencemen to ever lace up his skates in the NHL!

The four pieces of advice that Tim Horton passed on to Trevor are four skills that should be developed and practiced by all hockey players today. They are the four essential skills a defenceman should have, and all will make any player much better. I'm not about to tell you what those skills are, though. You'll have to pick up the book to find out what they are!

Were Tim Horton's pieces of advice enough to get Trevor back on the ice more frequently? Were they enough to change his game, making him a bigger piece of the puzzle for his team? How did the Leafs finish in 1962 with Tim Horton patrolling the blueline? How did Trevor's team finish the season, and did he see the results he was looking for in his changes? All of these questions are answered in Mr. Leonetti's story!

Once again, Mr. Banning's illustrations are works of art. Just as they were in The Rocket, the images seen in The Mighty Tim Horton not only complement the story, but add some stunning visuals to the words. Mr. Banning should be celebrated for his artistry because they images in this book are exceptional. As seen before, Mr. Banning is an impressive artist, and his work should be celebrated with his work in this book.

Mr. Leonetti brings a great message to young readers in The Mighty Tim Horton as his four simple skills will improve a young hockey player's skill set immensely. By giving young players these four pieces of advice, Mr. Leonetti is teaching them that practice, discipline, and hard work will always be rewarded. I especially like the fact that he emphasizes practice as being key in Trevor's development as a player since all good players practice a lot. Because of these great messages and the excellent story presented by Mr. Leonetti and Mr. Banning, The Mighty Tim Horton certainly deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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