________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 6 . . . .November 9, 2007


Cross-Check! (Sports Stories).

Lorna Schultz Nicholson.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2007.
126 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55028-968-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55028-969-5 (hc.).

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Marina Cohen.

*** /4



When Josh came off, Coach John patted his back. "Good work out there, Josh. You played tough and solid."

Josh nodded his thanks and took his place on the bench. He watched the play go up and down the ice, both teams evenly matched.

Nick was on fire. He flew toward the puck, picked it up and skated hard to the net with Kevin right on his heels. Nick held out his arm to keep Kevin away as he drove wide. Relentless in his attack, Kevin kept on Nick, hooking his stick around him. The whistle blew. Josh clapped his hand on the boards. Yes! Kevin had a penalty, and Josh could tell from how he shook his head that he was angry at the call.


Josh Watson is thrilled to be playing in the Kelona International Bantam AAA tournament. His team, the Calgary Rockies, are solid and have a chance at winning the gold medal. However, Josh soon finds himself in a precarious position—his captain, Nick, is playing dirty hockey and wants Josh to help by providing information about his friends who now play on opposing teams. What's more, Josh believes his bag of trading pins has been stolen.

     While Josh tries to stay focused on his game, he struggles with his conscience. He continually makes excuses for Nick's behavior on the ice. However, when some of the other players warn Josh that a tough player is going to be gunning for Nick, Josh realizes he must speak to his captain—tell him the truth about his cheap shots and warn him of the impending danger.

      In Cross-Check! Schultz Nicholson provides avid sports fans with yet another exciting glimpse into the world of amateur hockey. This novel is full of action both on and off the ice.

      The main character, Josh, is both credible and likeable. Readers will certainly identify with his inner struggles. The language is, for the most part credible, though at times a bit dated. Not many boys Josh's age use terms such as "drats" or "chum with" or "you're on."

      The pace of the story is quick—well suited to the plot and themes. Schultz Nicholson even adds an exciting layer of mystery as readers attempt to unravel the mystery of the missing pins.

      Cross-Check! is an enjoyable read, with plenty of action and more than one positive message.


Marina Cohen teaches in the York Region District School Board. Her second novel, Trick of the Light, is scheduled to be released this November.

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

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