________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 18 . . . . January 13, 2012


Line Change.

W. C. Mack.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2011.
172 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-0784-6.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Danika Bernard.

*** /4



We'd beaten Victoria before, but this time the game was too close to call. They were a strong team, stuck with a weak uniform. While we looked dangerous in our black and red, the Thunder were drowning in purple and yellow. And it didn't matter that the L.A. Kings wore those colours a million years ago. There was nothing cool about purple and yellow. I mean, come on. But worse than Victoria's uniforms was their attitude. Just because they were from the biggest city on the island they thought they were better than everyone else. They played rougher than they should. Rougher than anyone should.

Hockey had rules for a reason. Seriously it was game not a war.

Line Change, by W.C. Mack, is a hockey lover's dream book. It's easy to relate to for any young hockey player or sports fan. "Nugget" Mcdonald, like his nickname, is a bit small for his age which impacts the amount of time he has on the ice when things get rough. His replacement and major competition for ice-time is Bosko, the other larger and no less talented winger. When Coach is injured and Nugget's dad falls into the role of coaching the Cougars, Nugget thinks his ice time will be maximized as his father obviously knows how much of a pro he is. Unfortunately, for Nugget, there are many more changes than he and the Cougars bargained for when his father assumed the coaching role.

      The story is set on "the island" as Nugget calls it which is Victoria, BC. This setting might explain why the teams in the story seem to be small in comparison to more urbanized areas. The secondary settings consists of the arena, Nugget's home, and school. The main theme in this story is the fear of change and the conflict change may bring. Line Change can easily be classified into the genre of realistic junior fiction.

      The book, 172 pages long and organized into 18 chapters, is the sequel to Hat Trick. However, the story can easily stand on its own without the reader getting confused. The language and sentences are accessible for the younger target audience. The story has a lot of action and dialogue. The cover illustration is by Paul Perrault and depicts a hockey player skating a tight right turn with stick in hand. It is very attractive and appealing cover to a young hockey player.

      I recommend Line Change to any sports fan, but do not limit it to only those with a love of sports because of the action, examination of relationships when faced with obstacles, and conflict resulting from the fear of change.


Danika Bernard is a Community Access Program Trainer and Researcher with the Region of Waterloo and a Library Assistant with the County of Brant, ON.

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

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