________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 21 . . . . February 10, 2017


Wild Cards. (Orca Echoes).

Jeff Szpirglas. Illustrated by Dave Whamond.
Victoria, BC: Orca, February, 2017.
78 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $6.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1211-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1212-3 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1213-0 (epub).

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Lisa Case.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



Matt tried to put the card in his pocket. "You said you wanted to trade it."

Tyler reached forward to grab it out of Matt's hand, but Matt was too quick. Tyler missed and fell to the pavement.

"Whoa!" some of the kids around them said.

"Whoa is right," came another voice.

Everyone turned.

It was Mr. Leon, the school principal. He was out on recess duty. His face was the same color as the red vest he wore over his jacket.

Matt gulped. This meant big trouble.

Wild Cards, a great new book by Jeff Szpirglas, is a story about Matt, his classmates, and their love of Monster Zap cards. Matt is crazy about Monster Zap. He loves the TV show, the video games and graphic novels. He even has Monster Zap pajamas and underwear! He and his friends' favourite recess game is to battle with Monster Zap trading cards. The only problem is that when the cards cause too many fights and arguments, Monster Zap is banned from school. It is up to Matt and his friends to show Principal Leon that they can come together to make things a school harmonious – even with Monster Zap cards.

      Many children will relate to the characters in this book. They will also relate to the amazing Monster Zap game because it strongly resembles the popular and much-beloved Pokémon game. The cover is brightly coloured, and the pictures are drawn in cartoon character style. The story is written using simple wording and short paragraphs, with chapters ranging in length from 4-9 pages. There are two black and white illustrations per chapter, drawn in the same cartoon style that children love. The pictures really add to the story, as they help bring the characters to life and aid the children in appreciating the emotions of the characters. Young readers will find the illustrations a useful tool in understanding the story.

      Jeff Szpirglas, a Canadian author, has been nominated for several awards for his nonfiction work. He is from Hamilton, ON, and has worked at many different careers, ranging from working in a steelyard to kids' page editor at Owl magazine. Along with writing, he currently teaches Grade 2. Jeff enjoys writing both fiction and nonfiction for all ages. Dave Whamond is an award winning author and an illustrator. He studied at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary, AB. He enjoys finding inspiration from his family and those around them.

      Wild Cards will be a great addition to any library – especially an elementary school library. Children of all ages love to play with trading cards and will be able to relate to the characters as they work hard to convince the principal that banning the cards from school is a bad idea. Wild Cards is a story that entertains as well as teaches children that, when they work together towards a common goal, they can achieve great things.

Highly Recommended.

Lisa Case is a librarian from Calgary, AB.

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

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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