________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 10 . . . . January 21, 2005


Power Play in Washington. (The Screech Owls series; 16).

Roy MacGregor.
Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart, 2001.
124 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 0-7710-5645-1.

Subject Heading:
Hockey stories.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Ann Ketcheson.

**** /4


Attack on the Tower of London. (The Screech Owls series; 19).

Roy MacGregor.
Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart, 2004.
126 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 0-7710-5648-6.

Subject heading:
Hockey stories.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Ann Ketcheson.

**** /4


The Screech Owls had made it to their very first practice at the MCI Center, the huge downtown NHL arena where the Washington Capitals played. The Owls had rarely been so excited to get to a new rink, and it wasn't just because this was the home of the Caps. Right after the Owls, the Washington Wall were scheduled to practise. And everyone knew about the Wall, the team with the most famous peewee hockey player of the moment: Chase Jordan - the twelve-year-old son of the President of the United States.

Everything had seemed fine, at first. (From Power Play in Washington.)

The soldier smiled as she plucked off the white cloth and placed it in a machine and pushed a series of buttons. "We can detect explosives with this," she said. "We turn on the screen to make sure it's really a computer and not a false case, then check to ensure no one ever handled gun powder or anything around it."

"What if you found something?" Travis asked her.

She smiled again, "Then you, young man, would be in big, big trouble."

"It's not mine," he said.

She smiled again, "That's what they always say."

The machine beeped once and a green light came on. The solider handed Travis the computer with a nice smile. "We'll let you go this time, okay?"

"Thanks," Travis said, taking the computer and moving on, impressed with the thoroughness of the security check.

If they were this careful with a peewee hockey team, he thought, then imagine how closely they checked everyone else." (From Attack on the Tower of London.)


The Screech Owls hockey team is on the road again, with the usual blend of hockey games, interesting international visits, adventure and mystery!

     In Power Play in Washington, the team gets a first-hand look at life in the American capital and the unbelievable security measures surrounding the President and his family. The Owls see the sights of the city, get to know the President's son, and are caught up in dangerous political intrigue.

     Attack on the Tower of London finds the Owls involved in an in-line hockey championship in the British capital. The horrors of Madame Tussaud's exhibits and of spending a night in the Tower of London are nothing compared with a Guy Fawkes plot with murderous implications stumbled upon by team members.

     Both boys and girls will enjoy these Screech Owls books, full of suspense, adventure, humour, and the high jinks of a hockey team comprised of 12- and 13-year-olds. In this large series, now 20 books, readers get to know the characters as personal friends. They are well-drawn, detailed and realistic. Dialogue is in character - fast-paced and true to today's young teens. The books are not lengthy and have short chapters.

     Roy MacGregor brings other interesting elements to his novels. He has been involved in hockey all his life, and this first-hand knowledge is evident in his descriptions of coaching practices, game plays, road trips, and so on. The settings also provide realistic local details whether the Owls are confronted by Secret Service agents in Washington or are taking a ride in one of the famous London taxicabs. Add to this a dash of mystery and plenty of humour, and you have books which are sure to please.

     More information on MacGregor and other titles in the series is available at www.screechowls.com.

Highly Recommended.

Ann Ketcheson, a former teacher of high school English and French, is currently the teacher-librarian at Peterborough Collegiate in Peterborough, ON.

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

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