________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 15 . . . . March 16, 2007


The Dream Team. (Slapshots #2). [Previous title: All-Mars All-Stars].

Gordon Korman.  
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1999.
139 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 0-439-93870-8.

Subject Headings:
Hockey stories.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Ellie Contursi.

*** /4


It kept eating away at me: No Marsers on the All-Star team. Every time I passed the bulletin board in front of the office, I did a slow burn...

But what could I do? Mrs. Spiro would let me publish a special issue of the Gazette. She didn't want to waste paper!

Then it hit me. Mrs. Spiro said I couldn't publish a special Gazette. But she'd never said anything about making leaflets. I could print up a one-page notice demanding that Alexia be put on the All-Star team in the name of fairness. If I ran off eight, I'd have enough to tape one up in every hallway in the school. Hey, if the Barney the Dinosaur Fan Club deserved eight sheets of paper, then so did this! It would show those league officials as the stinkers they really were!

In The Dream Team, our main character and narrator is Clarence "Chipmunk" Adelman, the Sports reporter of the Gazette, his school newspaper. The Stars are a hockey team from a town close to the city of Waterloo, a town with the unfortunate name of "Mars." For the first time ever, the Stars are now allowed to play in the Waterloo Slapshot League. This also means that their players are eligible for a chance to play on the All-Star team. Immediately the reader is introduced to the team and gets a sense of their personalities. Trent Ruben and Alexia Colwin are the team's best players. When only Trent is chosen to play on the All-Star team, the Stars are discouraged by the unfairness of this decision. It is clear that the only reason Alexia isn't chosen is because she is female.

     Chipmunk dedicates himself to doing something about this injustice. His first attempt is to get permission to publish a special "emergency issue" of  the Gazette. Instantly, his idea is denied by Mrs. Spiro, who cites that the paper costs are too high. Chipmunk is appalled at the thought of paper costs getting in the way of exposing his news story. Cleverly, he realizes semantics will be his saving grace. Mrs. Spiro told him that he couldn't publish an emergency issue of the Gazette; however, she didn't mention anything about a flyer. Chipmunk sneaks into the Gazette office and produces his flyer. When he is ready to photocopy it, he hears the custodian approaching. After a terrible mishap with the machine's toner, Chipmunk punches in the incorrect number of copies to be printed. The end results are a huge bruise with the word "Copymax" branded on his forehead and all of his hard work literally flying out the window and littering the town.

     All is not lost. Because his flyers cover the entire schoolyard and the town thanks to the wind, people are abuzz about the unfairness of not allowing a girl to be on the All-Star hockey team. A real reporter gets hold of the flyer and publishes an article about it in Sports Illustrated magazine. This is the final push that is needed to get Alexia on the All-Star team.

     The Dream Team is a very entertaining story and an enjoyable read. Not being much of a hockey fan, I approached this novel with a bit of hesitation. However, Canadian author Gordon Korman does an excellent job of walking the reader through the hockey plays in the story, making it easy and painless for a hockey novice like myself to understand and visualize the events. Humour is laced throughout the story and provides a fun element to what could be a heavy subject - discrimination. Korman's point clearly comes across: girls can be great hockey players too.


Ellie Contursi is a children's librarian in London, ON.

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

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