________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 7 . . . . November 23, 2007


Clancy With the Puck.

Chris Mizzoni.
Vancouver, BC: Raincoast Books, 2007.
32 pp., hardcover (includes 4 minute animated short DVD), $21.95.
ISBN 978-1-55192-804-3.

Kindergarten-grade 5 / Ages 5-10.

Review by Jonine Bergen.

** /4


The lowly Hogtown Maple Buds

Were a sorry, desperate team.

They played like a tractor:

Old and slow,

They were not lean and mean.

The Stanley Cup?

They had no hope

That they would win that season,

Until young Clancy was traded in,

And then they had a reason.


Chris Mizzoni's Clancy with the Puck is a visual treat. Great care has been taken with the pictorial presentation of this poem. The fun begins with the inside of the book jacket which depicts a ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals and a trading card of the author, Chris Mizzoni. Between the covers, the backgrounds, in greys and light blues, effectively evoke the feeling of the hockey rink. Mizzoni is particularly adept at creating the feeling of movement and excitement of a hockey game.  Clancy, the main character, is depicted as talented, brash and cocky - a quintessential hockey player. The audience, the seventh player, is also given its appropriate due. Cameras flash, and fans cheer, chant and cry. 

internal art

     The narrative, however, is the weak member of this creative team. Patterned on the famous poem, "Casey at the bat," Mizzoni follows the hopes and eventual despair of fans of the Hogtown Maple Buds when their star player "strikes out." Like the hockey player who is tripped during the break away, Mizzoni cannot maintain the cadence and rhyming pattern expected by the original. Without a smooth flow, the poem format detracts from the story instead of enhancing it.

     Included with the book is a DVD of the animated short, Clancy with the Puck, narrated by hockey commentator Bob Cole whose voice definitely enhances the already enjoyable cartoon, while adding realistic flavour to the Maple Buds' chance at glory. The animated short is a worthwhile purchase on its own.

     Clancy with the puck has humour, character and a good base for the storyline. But, like the Hogtown Maple Buds, won't win the Cup.

     I had two co-reviewers read this book. The eight-year-old boy read it to himself. He thought the story was funny, and he particularly enjoyed the animated short. The 12-year-old girl read it aloud. She kept stopping and re-reading passages. She liked the ending, but said she would not want to read it again.


Jonine Bergen works in the library at Westdale School in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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