________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 21 . . . . June 18, 1999

cover My Leafs Sweater.

Mike Leonetti. Illustrated by Sean Thompson.
Vancouver, BC: Raincoast Books, 1998.
32 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 1-55192-194-4.

Subject Headings:
Toronto Maple Leafs (Hockey Team)-Juvenile fiction.
Sittler, Darryl, 1950- -Juvenile fiction.
Birthdays-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.
Review by Alison Mews.

*** /4


It was a snowy Saturday night. The wind was howling. I was happy to be inside because Hockey Night in Canada was about to start. This show made every Saturday night in the winter very special. I never missed it.

The team I cheered for was the Toronto Maple Leafs, and my favourite player was their captain, Darryl Sittler. He wore a white sweater with a big blue maple leaf on the chest and number 27 on the back. I like Darryl because he always tried his best. You could see it every time he was on the ice.

I wanted to be just like Darryl Sittler, and I wanted a Maple Leafs sweater just like his.

inside picture Comparison with Roch Carrier's The Hockey Sweater is unavoidable, but Leonetti's story is more about hero worship than hockey sweaters. Set in 1976, Leonetti's story describes a young boy's adulation of the Maple Leaf's captain, Darryl Sittler. Although Michael is not able to acquire a Maple Leaf sweater for his birthday, his disappointment is offset by his procuring last minute tickets to a Leaf's game. Young Michael excitedly gives readers a play-by-play description of his hero in action - a description of Sittler's actual historic 10-point game against the Boston Bruins. The story ends with Michael's dreaming of one day playing for the Leafs himself.

      Leonetti and Thompson have together created an attractive picture book that will undoubtedly be a big hit with young hockey fans. Thompson has used a simple and effective folk art style of illustration incorporating details, such as a table-top hockey game, a Spock lunch-box, a floor model television with legs and other dated household furnishings to set the story firmly in the 70's. The strong blues and whites of the Maple Leaf team colours are repeated in Michael's winter jacket and reinforced in the winter scenes of deep blue sky and white snow. Thompson has extended the maple leaf motif by depicting them frozen in the outdoor rink and flying high in the Canadian flag. The design consists mostly of a page of text opposite a full-page picture, although there are a couple of double-page spreads. The centering of the text lines creates unusual-looking paragraphs, and some words are emphasized in a large coloured font that places capitals in odd places. This approach has the effect of enlivening the otherwise static format of the book.

      This book is proudly Canadian, from the subject matter to the visual references to Toronto, Canada's flag, Lawren Harris, William Kurelek and Niagara Falls. Although the story, itself, is slight, Michael's enthusiasm is infectious, and new fans of the sport will share his awe at Sittler's accomplishment in a single game.


Alison Mews is the Coordinator of the Curriculum Materials Centre, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of NF, St. John's, NF.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364