Beaver’s Pond Press, 2015. 978-1592988815
Synopsis: Brothers Blaine and Cullen join refs Rylee and Rosee in game-day adventures that will have you cheering for more stories, victories, and defeats. Sharpen your skates and grab your stick–it’s time to play hockey! – from Amazon.com
Why I picked it up: I have friends with kids who enjoy shorter chapter books that are easy to follow.
Why I finished it: This is not an in-depth sports book by any means (Matt Christopher is a little more detailed), but it is tailored well to an audience of reluctant readers looking for a beginning chapter book. It’s light-hearted and fun without getting into a lot of the nitty gritty because that’s not really what the book is going for. The message the reader is gleaning from the book is one of having a positive attitude and displaying good sportsmanship. The authors are also shining a light on kids with disabilities that can still have an active part in team sports, whether or not they are actually on the field/ice/etc. Some of the dialogue can seem a little cheesy, but it’s good for an introduction into a sport. I liked both Cullen and Blaine, but I was disappointed not to see more of the referees only because I was under the impression that the series was focused on them. The illustrations are imaginative and add a lot to the story, giving the reader a better picture of the characters and the game. I appreciated that it was not a very long book, and I would recommend it for transitioning readers.
Other related materials: Petey by Ben Mikaelsen; Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick; Max the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick; Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko; Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko; Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko; Rules by Cynthia Lord; Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine; So B. It by Sarah Weeks; Knees: The Mixed-Up World of a Boy with Dyslexia by Vanita Oelschlager, illustrated by Joe Rossi; El Deafo by Cece Bell; Paperboy by Vince Vawter; Tangerine by Edward Bloor