Saturday, 9 October 2010

TBC: One Hockey Night

Teebz's Book Club is gearing up for National Young Readers Week in the United States with another book geared towards the younger hockey fan. As you may be aware, HBIC wants to get more kids reading and more kids interested in hockey, and I'm happy to do both of these through the books being reviewed here. Today, TBC is proud to present One Hockey Night, written by David Ward, illustrated by Brian Deines, and published by North Winds Press, a division of Scholastic Books. With kids having been in school for over a month now, it won't be long until the snow flies in the northern climates, and that means hockey! One Hockey Night looks at the story of Owen, a young boy who moves to Nova Scotia, and really begins to miss hockey as he used to know it.

David Ward is a Canadian author who now lives in Portland, Oregon. He was born in Montreal, Quebec, but grew up in British Columbia. Mr. Ward worked as an elementary teacher for eleven years before switching professions and starting his writing career. He has also planted trees and worked on a chicken farm, but now spends his time writing and completing his PhD in Language and Literacy. He has written seven books since 2006, and enjoys spending time with his wife and three children when he's not writing his next book. Mr. Ward also writes a blog on his work, and you can visit his website here.

Brian Deines is an accomplished author and illustrator. He graduated from the Alberta College of Art, and has contributed to a number of excellent works with his illustrations. Dragonfly Kites, written in 2002 by Tomson Highway and illustrated by Mr. Deines, was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Illustration and nominated for a Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award. Mr. Deines currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

One Hockey Night is the story of Owen and Holly, a brother and sister who find themselves living in Nova Scotia after having moved with their parents from Saskatchewan. Owen is a little down because it's December and all his friends are playing hockey in Saskatchewan while he's adjusting to a new life on the east coast. There was no frozen lake in Kettle Harbour like there was in Saskatchewan, so how could he play the game he loved?

When Holly asked Owen to play hockey, they went out to the front street instead of the backyard. Dad had prevented them from going out back, but he promised it would just be for a little while before they could head out to the backyard. "Sort of a secret," he told them.

Strangely, a large number of people began to show up at Owen's and Holly's front door, most carrying lobster crates. CJ and his mom, neighbours of Owen and Holly, were the first to drop off the crates, and Owen invited CJ to play street hockey in the future. But why were people bringing lobster crates to his house? It was too cold to catch lobster in December, yet they had collected a large number of crates. What was going on?

Owen missed hockey on the lake. He and Holly reminisced about playing on the lake back in Saskatchewan, and Owen finally assumed that no one played hockey in Kettle Harbour. Owen and Holly believed they would never play pond hockey again, but Mom and Dad had a special Christmas gift up their sleeves. What was it? Were the kids going back to Saskatchewan for Christmas? Did Mom and Dad find a lake for the kids to play on? All of these answers are waiting for you in One Hockey Night!

The story of One Hockey Night actually is based on real-life events. Mr. Ward has written an original story based on several events in Canadian life, including his own, but has captured the Canadian spirit of hockey and life in the Great White North. He writes an excellent note before the start of the story, and I commend Mr. Ward for writing this story based on the real-life experiences of a few special Canadians.

The artistry of Mr. Deines is top-notch, and really makes the story come alive on the pages. His pictures are warm and inviting, and really add to the story by putting faces and places to the words written by Mr. Ward. The illustrations provided by Mr. Deines for One Hockey Night not only add to the story, but bring the words to life as you read them.

Mr. Ward's warm story combined with Mr. Deines' excellent artistry makes One Hockey Night a must-read for the young reader. The story spans 32 pages, so it's a perfect way to get your elementary school child into reading, and the story should get the hockey fan stirring in your house! Because of this, One Hockey Night certainly deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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