CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 21 . . . .June 24, 2005
Having grown up on the lake outside Orillia, Ontario, with older brothers, skating came almost as naturally as walking for 12-year-old Tori Hayley. Playing hockey is a way of life for the Hayley family. However, when her dad is called away to tend to a sick mother, and her mom needs to overcome health issues, Tori is sent to live with extended family in Toronto. When Tori decides that the only way to enjoy her time away from home is to join a hockey team, she doesn't realize that there will be challenges both on and off the rink.
The Rangers are the worst team in the league, and her first confrontation with their best player doesn't leave a very good impression with Tori. She is resilient and determined not to let him get the best of her, regardless of the practical jokes she has to endure. Tori does make a friend in Mary, a girl from one of the opposing teams, and the friendship is not well tolerated by her teammates. Much to the surprise of the Ranger team, Tori has a gift for coaching and helps Mary's game, as well as her self-confidence. Soon, there are other members of the Rangers that show up for early morning skating and drills practice where the team learns the importance of working and helping one another.
Vandervelde does an admirable job conveying the importance of friendship, teamwork and overcoming the odds. Tori's determination and self-confidence are consistent throughout the book, and the language and structure are consistent for the age group for which it is intended. A quick-paced book that will especially appeal to the girl athletes, Home Ice definitely scores!
Rita Rebizant is an Educational Assistant in Hanover School Division and a teacher candidate in the B.Ed. program at the University of Manitoba.
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