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Francois Gravel
Translated by Sarah Cummins
Toronto, James Lorimer and Company, 1992. 40pp, paper, $6.95
ISBN 1-55028-402-9. CIP.

Grades 2 to 5/Ages 7 to 10

Reviewed by Norma Charles.

Volume 21 Number 3
1993 May

This translation into English of La zamboni (Boreal Express, 1990), which was awarded the 1990 Mr. Christie's Book Award for French text, manages to maintain the flavour and lilt of the French-Canadian language.

This is the story of Daniel, a troubled nine-year-old who tells how he loves to play goalie for his hockey team. But his father is always down his back, telling him how to play, and criticizing him, especially when his team loses. The father boasts of his own hockey career, which he says was unfortu­nately cut short by an injury.

One day after an especially disastrous game, Mr. Zamboni, the elderly driver of the Zamboni machine that cleans the ice, invites Daniel to step inside his machine. Inside, Daniel sees a dream movie where he is the hero. It is through this wonderful machine that Daniel grows in understanding of his unhappy father and his need to dream about the past.

The simple, straightforward prose, which manages to get into the head of the nine-year-old, and the large, clear print make this very short book of forty pages a quick, satisfying read for the young emerging or reluctant reader, particularly one interested in hockey.

Norma Charles is a teacher-librarian at the Henderson Annex School in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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