CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 19 . . . . January 20, 2012
Lorna Schultz Nicholson’s Puckster’s First Hockey Sweater and Puckster’s First Hockey Game are the beginning of a series of picture books for young hockey fans. Hockey is Canada’s national symbol, and there’s nothing more exciting than getting children into their first hockey sweater and playing their first hockey game. Licensed by Hockey Canada, these two picture books are not just stories; they include hockey facts and tips for young hockey players learning to play the game. As well, many Canadian hockey players, such as Sidney Crosby and Roberto Luongo, are mentioned in the stories. Young readers will definitely be motivated by these hockey players, as are Puckster and the other animals in the stories.
Kelly Findley, the illustrator, uses Canadian animals and mascots in these picture books, an approach which makes these stories a distinct part of Canadian culture. At times, the pictures are a bit busy, but the extra details mean that these stories can appeal to a wider range of audience. Younger children will find the animal characters attractive, and older children will be engaged with the extra facts and tips, as well as the additional details they discover in the pictures. The simple layout may lack excitement, but it is easy to follow and suitable for a young audience.
Puckster’s First Hockey Game is a continuation of Puckster’s First Hockey Sweater. Puckster’s hockey adventures are better read in order although they may be read as standalone titles. At the end of each story are facts and tips which are useful for practicing young hockey players. Presented as a story with Canadian facts and symbols children will recognize, this series can be recommended to both older children already interested in hockey as well as young children who may develop an interested after reading these two picture books.
Dave Alicia Cheng is a Children’s Librarian at Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.