CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 32. . . .April 24, 2015
On the morning of an important late season game, Peter Puck meets his friend, Tony Zamboni, on the ice before the rink is opened for the day. While Peter is excited about the upcoming game and the role he’ll play in the action, Tony is dealing with an existential crisis. As a Zamboni, he feels like his job is repetitive, insignificant, and—worst of all—boring. Peter Puck does his best to reassure his buddy, but, nonetheless, Tony embarks on an off rink adventure, leaving the arena for the very first time. After contemplating the lives of a paving machine, a moving truck, and a carousel horse, Tony comes across a speedway. Determined to do something fast and fun, he convinces Peter to drive him in a high stakes race against two career race cars. He wins the money, but the real prize is his new found appreciation of his own importance as a Zamboni.
Peter Puck and the Runaway Zamboni Machine is an entertaining adventure with a nice underlying moral of being proud of who you are and the work you do. The story, itself, isn’t complex, but McFarlane does a great job of creating suspense with language and cliff hangers at the end of each chapter. Geri Storey’s accompanying illustrations are clean and simple cartoon drawings which make good use of the space, adding colour and detail to the reading experience.
McFarlane has taken a classic character and reintroduced him to a new cohort of hockey fans in this adventure series starring Peter Puck. But, be warned: while Peter Puck and the Runaway Zamboni Machine offers a fast paced and exciting plot, it is only “hockey themed”. The sport, itself, is only an afterthought—there are no descriptions of slap shots or hat tricks to be found—but this may not prove to be a problem for the hard core hockey fan. Aside from the annoying inconsistency in the personification of inanimate objects (Tony Zamboni the machine speaks to the human drivers of non speaking race cars) this is a fun and simple chapter book sure to entertain young sport enthusiasts.
Amber Allen, currently on maternity leave, is a librarian in Toronto, ON, with a passion for children’s literature and writing.
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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.