CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 13 . . . . February 16, 2007
Another hockey season is about to begin, and the co-ed Icehogs are off to their initial practice the day before their first game. When Chester, the team’s goalie, does not appear, several members of the Icehogs take turns in net wearing the spare goalie equipment, but none of them play the position with any success, and so “the first practice of the year was a disaster.” Following the practice, Chester shows up saying he had slept in, but Brady Brady thinks Chester’s making up an excuse to hide his true reason. The next day, Chester does not appear at the game, and the Icehogs are trounced by the Hounds as Tree steps into the goalie role. The following day, Brady overhears Chester tell his teacher that he’s joining the “B team.” From what he has overheard, Brady concludes that Chester has defected to another hockey team. Another day later, before Brady has an opportunity to confront Chester about his seeming disloyalty to the Icehogs, Brady reads in the newspaper that Chester has joined the school’s Spelling Bee team. When Brady asks Chester why he hadn’t told his teammates about being in the spelling bee, Chester replies, “I didn’t think I’d have to. I figured I’d be eliminated before I had to miss any games.” Chester also adds, “Besides...I was afraid everyone would laugh.” Though the truth is out in the open, Chester has another problem. The Icehogs are playing that night, but “the final round of the Spelling Bee is tonight.” Brady Brady rallies the Icehogs who all appear at the spelling bee to provide moral support for their teammate, but, in order to make their hockey game, they have to leave before the event is over. Just as the Icehogs’ hockey game is about to start, Chester appears with his winning medal and certificate in hand, ready to play goal again.
Like other Brady Brady books, this one situates a character lesson in a hockey setting. “Being a supportive” friend is the story’s principal message, but author Shaw also slips in the idea of not rushing to judgement without having all the facts. Additionally, Chester’s fears about showing his academic side to his “sports” friends suggest that academics and athletics should be complementary, not competing, attributes.
Temple’s bright, comic-style illustrations continue to enliven the reading experience.
Dave Jenkinson teaches in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.