CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 36. . . .May 22, 2015
Ice Time. (Sports Stories).
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2015.
119 pp., pbk., hc. & ebook, $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.), $7.95 (ebook).
ISBN 978-1-4594-0855-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4594-0854-8 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-4594-0856-2 (ebook).
Hockey stories, Canadian (English).
Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
Review by Deborah Mervold.
After the final puck hit the net, Paul let out a deep breath. It formed a frozen cloud above his head. He plopped down against the boards of the rink at Wilden Park in Saskatoon, not caring how cold the ice was under him. It was a tough game for one twelve-year-old kid to play by himself on an outdoor rink. He pushed his toque above his sweaty forehead to cool down.
Paul was a long way from the professionals playing in Edmonton or Colorado, but he loved to imagine himself skating alongside them. He looked around the neighbourhood as he thought about getting home. It was cold. It was dark. It was quiet. Paul had the ice to himself, again. He scanned the old, tiny houses up and down Elm Street for sign of life. The best he could see was glowing blue television sets through most of the windows.
Paul, 12, lives with his mom and dreams of hockey. Because they can’t afford equipment, registration and tournament travel, Paul is unable to play on a team with his best friend, Vincent. Paul spends hours practicing at a local outdoor rink. When Vincent is injured in a crucial game and has a concussion, he is unable to play. The team is decimated when a number of players are hit with the flu and some with mononucleosis. Their team, the Wildcats, is worried that they won’t have enough players and will have to forfeit which will make them ineligible for the playoffs. When Carter, the coach’s son and a Wildcat team member, sees Paul shooting the puck on the outdoor rink, he asks Paul if he would help out the team. Carter provides equipment and the coach provides the transportation, and, because it is a short season, the registration fee is lowered, and Paul’s mother agrees that Paul can play.
Paul has the drive, and, with the coach’s help, he improves quickly with his skating and hockey skills. Most of the team is supportive although one of his teammates makes a fuss that Paul is getting the majority of the coach’s time. When the team comes together, they have success, and Paul’s dream of playing hockey comes true.
Ice Time is part of the Lorimer “Sport Stories” series. The reading level is 3.1. The vocabulary is suitable for the intended audience. The dialogue is realistic, and characters are authentic and develop during the story. Readers would enjoy the richness of the language and the local colour both from hockey and a prairie community. The book is divided into 15 chapters, with each chapter ending on a high point, allowing for the interest of the reader to be engaged.
This book would be enjoyed by hockey fans and also readers of realistic fiction and friendship. Ice Time would be an excellent choice for school, public and personal libraries. It would be an excellent read-aloud choice. Although the reading age is 10-13, younger readers would also enjoy the story.
Deborah Mervold, an educator from Shellbrook, SK, is now doing faculty training and program development at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. She has extensive experience as an English teacher and teacher-librarian.
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