________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 20 . . . . June 10, 2005


The Screech Owls Reunion. (The Screech Owls series; 20).

Roy MacGregor.
Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart, 2004.
140 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 0-7710-5649-4.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Julie Hunt.

*** /4

The Screech Owls' Reunion is the 20th book in the beloved "Screech Owls" series. Just as readers have seen Harry Potter's character develop into a moody teenager through J.K. Rowling's novels, Roy MacGregor has brought the Screech Owls hockey players into adult life in this the final book in the series. Travis Lindsay, former team captain, now teaches high school in hometown Tamarack, and Samantha (Sam) Bennett raises her little boy, Muck, there. Other members of the team are spread far and wide. Some are pursuing their hockey dreams, like Olympic Gold medalist Sarah Cuthbertson, Swedish Elite player Lars Johanssen, and Colorado Avalanche Dmitri Yakushev. Others, such as Derek Dillinger, an investment counselor in Florida, have taken up more traditional jobs. But only one player could land a job in Vegas as one of the flying Elvises - Nish!

     When the town of Tamarack decides to name its new ice rink the Sarah Cuthbertson Arena, Data comes up with a fabulous idea. The Screech Owls will reunite in a charity game on opening night! The town is abuzz with excitement. Things turn sour, however, as a numbered company threatens to develop a sensitive ecosystem. Sam, Mr. Dillinger, and Sam's friend, Anton, lead the battle to protect the foreshore and the habitat of the snapping turtle and lake trout. Accusations fly as to the involvement of the mayor in this development and perhaps even organized crime - accusations that seem founded when Anton and Mr. Dillinger are attacked.

Sam was in tears. She moved back and forth between Anton's room in one wing of the hospital and the waiting room outside Intensive Care. And she was growing more and more angry with each passing hour.

"How can the police say that they have no leads?" she snapped at one point at Travis.

He tried to calm her. "It only happened this afternoon, Sam. It will take time. They'll catch them."

"For heaven's sake, Travis, open your eyes!" Sam bellowed, the tears streaming down her face. "Anton and Mr. D. get beat up by guys in masks. Anton and Mr. D. are leading the battle against the casino. The people are turning against the casino. The casino operators have to shut down the movement. It's pretty obvious, isn't it?"

"I don't know," Travis said. "I don't know."

"And if not them, then the mayor and his goons."

"Oh, come on, Sam. The mayor? He wouldn't be so stupid."

"How do you know how stupid he can be? He's banking everything on this casino. We're in the way. How do I know I'm not next?"

     With Mr. Dillinger at death's door, Roy MacGregor still has a few twists left in this tale, making The Screech Owls' Reunion every bit as exciting as the other books in the series. In his classic fast-paced style, MacGregor provides a satisfying resolution to the story and to the Screech Owls series as a whole. The players have an unusually high level of success in their adult lives, which all seems a little too rosy, but what diehard reader would not be wishing the best for his favourite characters?

A collection of "Screech Owls" books without the The Screech Owls' Reunion would be like a jigsaw puzzle with the final piece missing. As such, it is a must-have for libraries and "Screech Owls" fans.


Julie Hunt is a teacher-librarian in West Vancouver, BC.

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

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