________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 22. . . .February 11, 2011.


Jordin Tootoo: The Highs and Lows in the Journey of the First Inuit Player in the NHL. (Record Books).

Melanie Florence.
Toronto, ON: Lorimer, 2010.
124 pp., pbk., hc. & ebook, $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.), $8.95 (ebook).
ISBN 978-1-55277-529-5 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-1-55277-531-8 (hc.),
ISBN 978-1-55277-530-1 (ebook).

Subject Headings:
Tootoo, Jordin, 1983- -Juvenile literature.
Inuit hockey players-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Nicole Dalmer.

**1/2 /4



Already a household name in Nunavut, Jordin Tootoo went on to impress hockey fans across Canada and in Nashville. They respected the hard-hitting right wing, and his popularity grew. Surprised at his short stature, some American hockey fans laughed when they saw him take to the ice. But they didn't laugh for long. Jordin never forgot the lessons he had learned from his father and brother on the cold lakes of Rankin Inlet. He saw no reason to change the way he played just because he had finally make it to "the show."

Another big night in Jordin's young career came on Thursday, October 16, 2003, when the Nashville Predators played the St. Louis Blues.

The score was tied up at 1-1. The action had fans on the edge of their seats. Players zigzagged across the ice, trying to get the puck, passing it to their teammates and stealing it from their opponents. Jordin was weaving between players, keeping a close eye on the puck. He was watching for his chance.

And there it was. The perfect opportunity. Jordin took it. He grabbed the puck and smoothly fed it to Dan Hamhuis. Hamhuis made a stunning wrist shot that flew past Blues goalie Chris Osgood like a rocket. And just like that, amid the screams of Preds fans, Jordin Tootoo made an assist. He had earned his first point in the NHL.

Using anecdotes, direct quotations and many black and white photos, Melanie Florence sheds some light on the many influences that have shaped the life and career of Jordin Tootoo. Though the primary focus of this book is hockey, including the challenges and successes Tootoo and his family encountered as he rose to hockey stardom, Florence also covers a wide range of topics and issues that will likely lead to further discussion, including rights of Inuit people on their land, the federal government's description and recognition of indigenous peoples, racism and the higher incidence of Aboriginal youth suicide.

     The book is divided into nine, very manageable chapters loosely based on the chronology of main events in Tootoo's life, and the reader learns about the land, heritage and family into which Tootoo was born, the first time Jordin donned skates, how Tootoo tirelessly practiced and worked his way up through teams and competitions, the tragedy that befell the Tootoo family and finally, how Jordin Tootoo made history when he became the first person of Inuit descent to be drafted by the NHL in 2001. Young hockey enthusiasts will find a great deal of hockey-related topics to read about and explore, but for those hockey neophytes, myself included, there is a handy glossary and index included in the back of the book.

     The writing is fairly simple and, at times, rather repetitive, particularly when emphasizing Tootoo's penchant for brawls in hockey games. Though the author aims to be as descriptive as possible with her writing (fostered by the inclusion of black and white photographs, as well as fact boxes that add detail and aid in the reader's understanding of concepts, such as the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards), I was somewhat disappointed with the author's overuse of cliches. That being said, I appreciated the objectivity with which Tootoo's life was presented: a balanced view of attributes (both positive and less than glowing) were discussed. Also of value was the chapter dedicated to Tootoo's life off the ice, information which allows younger readers to see that the character of a hockey player is seen just as much outside the rink as in.

     An orderly and neat interface facilitates the ease with which any reader could pick up, read and be entertained by Jordin Tootoo. Those with an interest in hockey and its star players will surely enjoy learning more about the upbringing and life of this history-making Canadian hockey player.


Nicole Dalmer is a first-year student in the MLIS program at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB.

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

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