CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 19. . . .January 17, 2014
Scholastic Canada has assembled five of the “Brady Brady” hockey books that were originally published between 2001 and 2006 into a single volume. The “Brady Brady All-Star Hockey Collection” faithfully reproduces the quintet of titles, with the only change being that any words originally rendered in italics are now bolded. Since all five books were reviewed in CM when they first appeared, they will not be re-reviewed here. Brady Brady and the Great Rink was the original title, and it introduced pre- and early readers to Brady Brady, his parents and sister, plus the family dog, Hatrick, as well as Brady Brady’s hockey coach and his teammates on the Icehogs.
The collection is well-balanced in that it is literally bookended by Brady Brady’s home hockey rink. In Brady Brady and the Great Rink, Brady Brady is obsessed with building the backyard rink so that he and his neighborhood friends will have a place to play hockey, and the collection’s closing tale, Brady Brady and the Puck on the Pond, finds Brady Brady becoming jealous one day when Freddie, an Icehog teammate, offers everyone an alternative place to play hockey: “You should see the size of the hockey rink on my grandpa's pond!...It's the biggest and best rink ever! You guys should come over and play!” And they do - well, everyone except Brady Brady.
Shaw does an exceptional job of tapping into the emotional concerns of young children, whether it’s fear, as in Brady Brady and the Runaway Goalie, embarrassment as occurs in Brady Brady and the Great Exchange, or disappointment as is found in Brady Brady and the Most Important Game.
Chuck Temple’s cartoon-like illustrations are perfect for the books’ subject matter, and he captures not only the characters’ emotions, but he also faithfully reproduces the various outdoor settings as well capturing the feel (almost smell) of the dressing rooms and the indoor rink settings, including the puck-scarred boards.
As there are a dozen Brady Brady hockey books, hopefully Scholastic will put together another collection. And note that Brady Brady is not just a one-sport athlete. In the off-season, when he’s not playing hockey, Brady Brady also participates in football (Brady Brady and the Cranky Kicker) and baseball (Brady Brady and the Ballpark Bark & Brady Brady and the Cleanup Hitters).
As the physical dimensions of the collection are significantly larger than those of the original paperback versions, the illustrations will be much more visible when the stories are read to small groups. And cost-conscious purchasers should be aware that the cost of this hardback book is less than that of buying two “Brady Brady” titles in softcover. An excellent home and library purchase.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.