CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 9 . . . . November 3, 2017
Take Me Out to the Ice Rink, written by Stella Partheniou Grasso and illustrated by Chris Jones, takes the original lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and adapts them to the sport of hockey in a creative new twist on an old classic. Each year when the weather gets cold, the neighbourhood floods the snow and makes a hockey rink. Everyone loves to gather around and watch the excitement of the game, cheering for the home team as the players pass the puck and score some goals.
While the gimmick of new words in a familiar tune may be what initially piques readers' interest, it's the unique lyrics, energetic flow, and friendly message which ultimately make this simple story of neighbourhood friends playing a fun game of hockey stand on its own. Rhyming text highlights the action of the tale, showing how the ice rink is made and how each goal of the game is scored, and readers will enjoy the movement of both the text and Jones's cartoonish illustrations. There is also an element of nostalgic joy to be found in Take Me Out to the Ice Rink when the crowd sings together, switching peanuts for skates and strike outs for game periods in a clever reimagining of the old song. As well, true Canadian spirit is on display in the illustrations which include a moose, several beavers, Canada geese, and a few blue jays (among other animals) as part of the friendly neighbourhood group.
Take Me Out to the Ice Rink is a book that could easily be read one-on-one with an adult ready to share memories of winters and hockey games gone by, or it could be used as part of an interactive story time. With a fun premise and a chorus anyone can sing along with, this is an entertaining read for hockey fans and those who love the community spirit of a good game.
Meredith Cleversey, a librarian in Cambridge, ON, loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.