________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 18 . . . . January 15, 2010


Man-to-Man. (Sports Stories).

Bill Swan.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2009.
143 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55277-442-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55277-443-4 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Lacrosse-Juvenile fiction.
Sports stories.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Dana L. Coates.

**** /4


Michael got to his feet and tried to step between Jason and one of the Warriors. He bumped into Abrams, who was attempting to hold his own teammate.

"Stop, stop," Michael said. "They're going to kick us all out if we don't do something. We have to talk."

"Yeah, right," said one of the Warriors. "We'll be kicking you guys out, all right. We whumped the Gaels just now, and tomorrow we'll whump you."

"If there is a next game. If both teams are still in the tournament."

"What do you mean?" asked Abrams, as if Michael's message was sinking in.

"The ref reported that we had a fight," Michael said. "Both teams are going to be kicked out."

Abrams laughed. "Fat chance of that," he said, but a hint of doubt appeared in his eyes. "Come on, guys."


Man-to-Man is a fast paced, action-packed, never a dull moment novel. It is clearly written and contains easy vocabulary to make it an easy read. Bill Swan provides excellent visual descriptions in his writing.

     Swan created a story about a lacrosse tournament in Ontario. Michael is not only younger (no specific age is mentioned, but he seems to be around pre-teen/teen age), he is also smaller than the rest of his non-Aboriginal Thunder teammates. Because Michael happens to be benched a lot, he ends up watching whatever he can see through his teammates. Then Jordan collapses after the game against the First Nations team, the Warriors. Later on, when a Thunder player is throwing rocks to scare away some geese, he ends up hitting someone. This questionable racial incident is reported to the tournament officials, and the boys wait to find out if they are either kicked out of the tournament, or if the tournament is to be cancelled.

     Man-to-Man includes young peoples' problems that they experience in real daily life, problems such as lying. Swan accurately recaptures the dialogue and problems of young people. There is also heroism where a young boy discovers what he is truly able to do. Swan, who has six other sports titles, has the expertise to write children's sports stories, and in Man-to-Man, he even explains how lacrosse is played, information which is interwoven throughout the story line. Consequently, even if readers have little knowledge about the game of lacrosse, they will still be able to read this story. The novel's conclusion includes more information on lacrosse as well as a glossary.

Highly Recommended.

Dana L. Coates is a grade six teacher in Norway House, MB.

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

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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