________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 22 . . . . February 12, 2010


Timberwolf Rivals. (Orca Echoes).

Sigmund Brouwer. Illustrated by Graham Ross.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2009.
60 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55469-107-4.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Jonine Bergen.

** /4


Connie didn't notice Johnny and Suzie's tea party. She and Eldridge were trying to figure out a problem on the computer.

"This is really delicious," Johnny said loudly. It was no good being nice to Connie's little sister if Connie didn't notice. Johnny drank a second cup of tea. "Suzie, thank you for the tea party with your dolls!"

Finally Connie turned around.

"Oh no!" Connie yelled. "I should have been watching my sister."

"It's okay,'' Johnny said. "I'm happy to play with her."

"I hope you didn't drink the tea," Connie said.

"I had two cups already. And I played with her dolls. Because I'm nice," Johnny said and smiled.

"More tea please," Johnny said to Suzie.

"That's not a good idea," Connie said.

"What? It's not good to be nice?" Johnny asked.

"You don't understand," Connie said. "Suzie is little. She can't read the taps on the sink."

"So?" Johnny asked.

"The only place Suzie can get water for her teapot is from the toilet," said Connie.


The pretty new girl who has moved into town can dance, and she has caused quite a stir with Tom, Johnny and Stu. In the past, the three Timberwolf musketeers would not have noticed, but the big Valentine's Day dance is around the corner, and though they may not want to admit to being interested in girls, they are interested in the prizes that will be awarded to the best dancers at the dance. With winning the dance competition the goal, Connie, too, becomes a prize to be won.

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     Johnny, who wants to win the graphite hockey stick, has to figure out how to get a girl to notice him. Tom, who is just competitive and particularly likes to beat Johnny whenever he can, decides he can get Connie to like him enough to go to the dance with him instead of Johnny. Stu seems to be helping both boys, but maybe he has an ulterior motive too –– like the free dinners at the restaurant. The problem for the boys is figuring out what Connie wants.

     And so, Brouwer continues his "Timberwolf" series with a new title, Timberwolf Rivals. In this instalment, the rivalry is taken out of the arena and moves to a new sphere for the boys –– relationships with that mysterious creature called a girl.

     The theme may have changed but, like the other titles of this series, Brouwer still relies on practical jokes and physical antics to carry the plot forward. As Tom and Johnny play a game of one-upmanship with one another, the tension rises as their friendship deteriorates in their race to win Connie's affections. This deterioration plays a particularly dramatic turn when their off-ice rivalry affects their on-ice play and the team loses what should have been an easy game.

     Although Brouwer does include the requisite hockey scenes, the majority of the action takes place off the ice. The boys are still playing a game, but with new types of checking and body shots.

     Flagpoles, toilet water, plungers and arm farting may not win the fair Connie's heart, but these antics will endear Timberwolf Rivals to the young boy reader.


Jonine Bergen is a teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.