________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 8 . . . .December 8, 2006


Cup Crazy. (Slapshots #4).

Gordon Korman.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2000/2006.
156 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 0-439-93872-4.

Subject Heading:
Hockey stories.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Karen Rankin.

** /4



The community centre had playoff fever. There wasn’t an empty seat or a space to stand in as the opening face-off approached.

A lot of Marsers always came out to watch the Stars. But today they were outnumbered by five times as many Waterloo fans. Dozens of flashbulbs made the stands glitter. A carnival atmosphere was in full force. Quarterfinal Saturday was always a big afternoon.

There was a lot for a sportswriter to report on. But the sight that caught my eye was Alexia. There she stood, alone at the Stars’ bench, ramrod straight like a palace guard. But where a guard would hold a rifle, she brandished a long-handled mop. As wired up as I was, I had to cheer. It was the perfect in-your-face to Mr. Feldman. That idiotic law said she couldn’t carry a stick. But a mop was on the list of things that were okay. The referee skated up, confused. “What are you doing with a mop?”

She shrugged. “I couldn’t find a butter churn.”


Hockey is ‘Chipmunk’ Adelman’s beat for the Waterloo Elementary School ‘Gazette.’ Since Chipmunk happens to be from Mars, a tiny town right beside Waterloo, he’s partial to the Mars Health Food Stars team. Like Chipmunk, all of the players on the Stars have always attended school in Waterloo and played in the Waterloo Slapshot League. This, however, is the first year that the league has allowed Mars to have its own team which happens to be captained by Alexia, the only girl in the Slapshot League. At the beginning of Cup Crazy, the Mars Stars have just made it into the playoffs. Before the play-offs even begin, Happer Feldman – star of the first-placed Penguins – assures Chipmunk that the Stars won’t ever even touch the championship cup. It turns out that Happer’s uncle, the league president, has unearthed an ancient bylaw barring Alexia from playing. After attempting to expose the league president’s “rip-off,” Chipmunk instead loses his job at the Gazette. By a combination of good playing and good psychology, the Stars from Mars manage to win the championship. However, circumstances conspire so that by the end of the story, Happer’s prediction that the Stars won’t get to touch the cup seems to be coming true.

     Cup Crazy’s narrator, Chipmunk – “Please don’t call me by my real name – Clarence” – Adelman is a fairly well-rounded character: he loves hockey, and he loves being a reporter. Readers discover his stealthy side when he tries to get even with the league president for forcing Alexia off the team and when his mother correctly suspects that he has a stash of cavity-making jawbreakers. Secondary characters are sketchily drawn, usually with one defining trait per person. For example, the angrier Alexia gets, the quieter she gets, Jared is obsessed with driving the zamboni, coach can’t come up with half of the words he needs and fills in the blanks with “whatsit,” “thingamabob,” heejazzes,” etc.

      Cup Crazy, Korman’s fourth title in the “Slapshot” series, is fast-paced and has some funny moments; unfortunately, however, it lacks credibility. For instance, when Chipmunk’s stash of jawbreakers is found stuck to the blanket he crammed into his locker, his science teacher enters the whole mess – as the milky way – in the science fair. Another time, one of the Stars’ players drives the coach’s expectant wife, along with the entire team, to the hospital on a Zamboni. Furthermore, much of the dialogue lacks authenticity, being either too adult or too slick for 11- or 12-year-olds. For example, one of the Stars’ players says, “I’ve got to tell you, guys, I’m worried about the game on Saturday. It’s going to hurt losing Lex. And who knows what we’re going to do with Fragile. But mostly I’m worried about us. We’re so down in the dumps that I don’t think we’re ready to put out the kind of effort it takes to win in the play-offs.” Another says, “If I’d used my head for anything other than a hat rack….” Chipmunk makes comments such as, “You’d have to be a cave-dwelling hermit not to know that I was living under dental martial law.” And – in reference to the coach’s pregnant wife – “By June, Mrs. B. would be getting her own area code from the phone company.”

Recommended with reservations.

Karen Rankin is a Toronto, ON, writer and editor of children’s stories.

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

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.