________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 1. . . .September 2, 2011


Hat Trick. (Sports Stories).

Jacqueline Guest.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2010.
127 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-55277-563-9.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Wendy Williams.

*** /4



Don't start pulling the hankies out for old Jimmy just yet. The other part of the deal is that for every goal Jimmy scores, his dad gives him twenty bucks!... she drew her finger across her throat in a grim gesture.


Hat Trick, set in a small town near Calgary, AB, tells the story of Leigh, a young girl (readers are not told exactly how old she is) who loves hockey. Unfortunately, her only chance to play is on the boys' team, where she is under constant pressure to perform and justify her ability to be accepted as a player. She has a lot of trouble with Jimmy, the star of her team, but she also feels the pressure from her girl friends who do not understand why she would want all the hassle of being an outsider in a highly competitive environment. Added to all this pressure, Leigh's parents are separated, and she has to negotiate through the challenges of living in two homes. Leigh and her mother are Métis, descendants of the union between a Hudson's Bay trader and a Cree lady in 1802. Her mother has precious traditions that she wants Leigh to enjoy and cherish, particularly traditional native Fancy Dancing. With her father, Leigh is keen to play like a tough hockey player, and, for her mother, to enjoy the elaborate costumes and delicate dance moves of the Tsuu T'ina nation.

     Hat Trick certainly covers many of the problems and challenges of being a young teen in Canada today: separated parents, conflicting cultural traditions, and trying to follow her own love of hockey in a world where boys are accepted, and girls are not. The theme explores the familiar struggle for a young girl to find identity and confirmation. I am assuming that Leigh is about 11 to 14-years-old because there is no love interest here, but the uphill struggle for self-confidence, self-knowledge, and acceptance of her skills and limitations are well described.

      Jacqueline Guest lives in Bragg Creek, a small picturesque village close to the north-west edge of Calgary's city limits. She has been to my school here in Calgary to give an author presentation to our elementary students, and she was very well received. She gave us a very lively description of Métis traditions and crafts, and I look forward to inviting her again.


Wendy Williams, a teacher-librarian in Calgary, AB, enjoys seeking out the kind of books that will entice a young generation somewhat reluctant to read. She anticipates great changes in the world of books and technology in the near future.

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

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