________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 21 . . . .June 24, 2005


Against the Boards. (Sports Stories, 77).

Lorna Schultz Nicholson.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2005.
107 pp., pbk., & cl., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55028-864-4 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55028-865-2 (cl.).

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Rita Rebizant.

**½ /4



Out of the corner of his eye, he could see a boy strolling over to him. "Hey," said the boy, tossing his head back to get his hair out of his eyes, "You're that new kid from the boonies. Do you miss your igloo?"

Peter didn't reply.

"What—don't they teach you to speak where you come from?"

Peter was determined to hold his ground. Even though he was quivering inside, he curled his lip,"Maybe I just don't want o talk to you."

"Leave him alone." A girl came up to the boy and pulled on his shirt.

"You're right. Boonie-boy is not worth my time, that's for sure." The boy flicked Peter's ball cap off his head, laughed, and ran off with the girl, yelling "boonie-boy, boonie-boy!"


Fourteen-year-old Peter has travelled a long way for a chance to play AAA Bantam hockey in Edmonton, and the tryouts are just the beginning of many challenges that he faces. Now that he has made the team, he has to move to the big city from Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, and live with a host family. Peter's elation at making the team is soon replaced by fear, realizing that he will be attending a new school that is more than double the size of his school in Tuktoyaktuk and not knowing anyone. His host family, the Pattersons, do their best to make Peter feel welcome, but their daughter, Christine, has more than a few surprises in store for him. Peter soon finds himself being blackmailed by Christine, having a hard time keeping up with his schoolwork, and missing his own family and friends.

     One rule that the coach enforces is that all of his players must keep up with school and get good marks, otherwise they will be cut from the team. Peter finds himself struggling, trying to keep up with the demands of school as well as an intense practice schedule. Christine volunteers to help Peter keep up with schoolwork, but only if he promises not to tell her parents that she is still meeting her boyfriend, whom she has been forbidden to see. Peter works hard at his game, but Christine's continued blackmail gets him in trouble on the ice and with the Pattersons, and he is forced to make one of the toughest decisions of all.

     Although the story is enjoyable and text and dialogue appropriate for the age, the front cover is misleading to the readers. The central character is Inuit, yet the illustration portrays a Caucasian boy with dark, wavy hair. Would this story be less appealing if the picture showed an Inuit boy? There are current references to new hockey sports heroes, specifically Jordan Tootoo that will appeal to the younger hockey fans.


Rita Rebizant is an Educational Assistant in Hanover School Division and a teacher candidate in the B.Ed. program at the University of Manitoba.

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

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