________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 9 . . . .December 21, 2007


Timberwolf Trap. (Orca Echoes).

Sigmund Brouwer. Illustrated by Dean Griffiths.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2007.
60 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55143-722-4.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Jonine Bergen.

*** /4



Tom lifted his thumb and finger away from his nose. "Nothing personal, Dale. This is the first time I've had to sit beside you. I'm not used to it.

"Nobody gets used to it," Dale said. "If you think it is bad sitting beside me, imagine what it is like to wear this stuff."

Dale lifted a pair of hockey socks out of his hockey bag.

"There they are," Johnny said sadly. He tried to breathe through his nose. "The smelly socks of death."

"I get my mom to wash them every game," Dale said. "But then she throws them into my hockey bag and they get smelly again."

Dale didn't have to explain why. Inside the hockey bag were his smelly hockey gloves of death. His smelly shin pads of death. His smelly elbow pads of death. His smelly jockstrap of death. Everyone on the team agreed that Dale had the smelliest hockey equipment in the history of hockey.


The kids on the Timberwolf team like Dale they just don't want to sit beside him. Dale doesn't mind. He knows his hockey equipment is smelly. After all, he is the eighth son to use it, and a cat had kittens in his hockey bag over the Christmas break. Johnny and Tom want to help him, but how can they when "Some people are too proud to let anyone help?"

     Timberwolf Trap, the fourth book in Sigmund Brouwer's series about the Timberwolves, focuses once again on the boys of the Timberwolf hockey team, specifically, wise-cracker Johnny Maverick and transplanted city-kid Tom Morgan. As in the previous books, the plot revolves around a particularly important hockey event while the subplot details an ethical question and, ultimately, teaches a moral.

      Tom and Johnny are tied for the league's goal-scoring trophy. They both want it very badly, but they have been taught that hockey is about teamwork. Teamwork is about helping each other out and working for the team, but individual glory feels pretty good. On the other hand, Dale is great at assisting Johnny in getting goals, but he hasn't scored one himself all season. Time is running out for Johnny to beat Tom. Should he risk losing to give Dale a chance to score?

internal art      In Timberwolf Trap, Brouwer continues to use stereotypes to quickly move the reader into the story. However, some of the humour in this plot relies on the reader's familiarity with the antics and personalities of Johnny and Tom developed through the previous stories. To keep the storyline fresh, Brouwer added a new dimension to Tom by allowing him to become more than the obnoxious city-kid who cares only about himself of the previous books. Johnny's character is also further developed through the introduction of his father. Though Timberwolf Trap can stand alone, it is more enjoyable if read after the previous books in the series.

      An accomplished writer, Brouwer is adept at changing his writing to suit the occasion. His use of short sparse sentences creates the speed and excitement of a hockey game. In contrast, he uses repetition and description effectively to evoke the smells of the locker room. Smelly equipment, stolen gas and the league's goal-scoring trophy may not appear to have much in common, but, with the Timberwolf boys, anything is possible.


Jonine Bergen works at Westdale Junior High School in Winnipeg, MB, as a library technician.

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

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