________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 11 . . . . February 3, 2006


Mud Happens. (Sports Stories, No. 82).           

Bill Swan.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2005.
115 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55028-898-9 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55028-899-7 (cl.).

Grades 6-8 / Ages 11-13.

Review by Jean Nickel.

** /4


Ms. Wellesley was Matt’s eighth grade teacher and his track coach. Well, not the school’s official track coach. But since the end of the cross country races in the fall, Ms. Wellesley had invited the interested runners from the S.T. Loveys Elementary School to join her at the Oshawa Civic Dome.

Overhead, the roof of the Dome shuddered in the wind. A clump of snow flapped loose from the roof fabric and began a slow, noisy slide to the ground. That’s when Matt knew his secret desire was to join the Durham Riders Track Club.


Mud Happens is the sequel to Mud Run, the book that was nominated for a Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award. Matt Thompson belongs to the 100-Kilometre club at S.T. Loveys Elementary School. Ms. Wellesley, their coach, informs the team that she can no longer train them due to a board decision. Instead, they are to train with an elite running team from Dwyer High School. This running group is trained by Joe Calder, a coach who produces world class runners. Matt also discovers that the janitor in his school coaches a group called the Clarington Vikings, and he asks Matt to join their track team. Matt is left to decide which track team to join - a decision which will affect more than those with whom he trains. If he goes to the Durham track club, he will also have to switch schools which means leaving his friends.

     This book talks about friendship, making decisions and pacing oneself, both in racing and in life. Students who enjoy sports stories, especially track and field, will like this story. Matt’s sister likes to use big words, such as pusillanimous, just to show off her knowledge, and, as a result, a dictionary maybe needed by some students. However, this does not detract from the story or make it hard to understand. This story starts slowly and should be directed to stronger readers who can stay with a story until it gets going.

     Bill Swan lives in Courtice, ON, with his wife and daughter. He has also written Fast Finish, Off Track, Corner Kick, Deflection, and of course Mud Run.


Jean Nickel is a Library Technician at the Westglen School in Didsbury, AB.


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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