CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 20 . . . . January 25, 2013
Puckster and his teammates are back for more hockey excitement. Lorna Schultz Nicholson and Kelly Findley return with the third and fourth instalments of the "Puckster" series. Puckster, the polar bear, is Team Canada's mascot and seems to know all about hockey.
In Puckster's First Hockey Tournament, the team is playing well and has made the finals! However, Roly the bear falls ill because of all the food he ate. The Russians are now ahead 3-1. Francois tries to be the team's goalie, but they need Roly. And of course, Roly goes back into the net. The team wins as Roly "slid[es] across the net, whip[s] his glove in the air, and ma[kes] a spectacular save." This story tells hockey players that it is important to eat properly and never to give up no matter how far away from winning you are.
In Puckster's New Hockey Teammate, Puckster needs to find a new teammate. Francois is sick. The others are tired. That is when Puckster notices a panda bear playing with a rubber ball and a hockey stick outside the arena. Despite the fact that Yuan, the panda bear, does not know how to skate and has no hockey equipment, Puckster enlists Yuan's help. Puckster teaches Yuan to skate and play hockey. If you try hard enough, there is a chance to be successful.
Both stories continue the themes of hockey lessons and morals to be learned. Although didactic, the stories are disguised by the plot and illustrations. Useful hockey tips are still available at the end of the stories. Young children interested in hockey will continue to find these books fascinating, especially Puckster's First Hockey Tournament, which may remind readers of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Reluctant readers will also enjoy these stories.
Alicia Cheng is a Children's Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, BC.
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