Saturday, 5 November 2011

TBC: The Magnificent Mario

If you know anything about about me, you'd know that I'm a Mario Lemieux fan. "Super Mario" was my favorite player growing up, and I always wanted to play like he did. Unfortunately, I played defence, so my scoring prowess was nowhere near Lemieux's ability, but there was no other player that I idolized more. You can imagine how excited I was when I got the opportunity to read and review The Magnificent Mario, written by Mike Leonetti, illustrated by Gary Chatterton, and published by Scholastic Canada. Mr. Leonetti's books are always great reads, so I had great interest in reading his story about my favorite player.

Mike Leonetti has written a number of hockey-centric books, including Canadiens Legends, Maple Leafs Top 100 Players, The Rocket, and The Mighty Tim Horton, all 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.

Gary Chatterton is a highly-talented artist who has had his artwork featured in various advertising campaigns across the country. He has a number of impressive pieces featured on the Art Wanted site including this incredible Wayne Gretzky artwork. When he's not putting his creative talents to work, Mr. Chatterton can be found at home just outside Montreal with his family. His personal website is still under construction, but you can see more of his work while it's being finished.

I thought this book was going to be all about Mario Lemieux and his accomplishments, but I was wrong. As good as that book may be, The Magnificent Mario was actually a great story about a young hockey player named Max. Max is disappointed that his team is mired in a losing streak, and he wants to quit playing hockey. His team, the Hurricanes, was the same team that Mario Lemieux had once played for, and Max's dad gave him some encouraging words of advice. Max did some research on Lemieux and learned some interesting facts. Max took these facts with him to the next game, and gave an inspirational speech to his team.

Max's story that Mr. Leonetti weaves around the facts about Lemieux is very good, and delivers a couple of excellent messages: teamwork and hard work are two important factors in how well a team plays. Max's selfless play helped his team improve, and his hard work began rubbing off on players on his team. Like Lemieux, Max became a leader on his team through his good work ethics and selflessness. Can Max help his team break out of the losing streak? Will they make the playoffs? Can they go further? All these questions are answered at the conclusion of The Magnificent Mario.

The illustrations provided by Mr. Chatterton are absolutely spectacular. If nothing else, the cover of The Magnificent Mario - illustrating Lemieux's famous goal against the North Stars in the Stanley Cup Final - is certainly one of Mr. Chatterton's best pieces of art in the book, but his illustrations throughout the book make this not only a great story, but a visual masterpiece as well.

The Magnificent Mario isn't a very long book at 30 pages, but it is a good story. The book is certainly for younger readers, and is probably a great book for bedtime reading with your younger hockey fans. Mr. Leonetti's story is solid and delivers a great message, and Mr. Chatterton's illustrations are worth every penny. In short, The Magnificent Mario is a good start for young, hockey-loving readers, and the book certainly deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval for the great story and solid facts about one of the NHL's best players.

The best part? If your child is learning French, The Magnificent Mario is also published in French for all my Francophone readers! C'est magnifique! This book is highly recommended, and the artwork isn't to be missed!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Robert Ullman said...

I gotta get a copy of this. Super Mario is my hero of heroes, and once my son Max is a bit older, I plan to teach him the legend of soixante-six and take him to as many NHL games as I can...and most of 'em will no doubt be Hurricanes games, 2 1/2 hours away in Raleigh!