Canadian Book Review Annual
"Bouchard and Griffiths combine words and illustrations to delightfully deceive readers."
Globe and Mail
"The story moves at a lively pace, and illustrator Griffiths's hockey players are both comical and endearing."
"Joins Canadian hockey classics for and about children."
"Injects a vigorous note that challenges gender stereotypes that still exist in what is often viewed as an all-boys' sport."
"A marvellous story...of the spirit of friendship, the love of the game and a shared passion among children."
Quill & Quire
"A first-rate picture book that will appeal to hockey fans of both sexes."
Center for Children's Books
"Bouchard captures the authentic thrill of a game played simply for the joy of it."
"Sure to inspire many a road hockey game."
"A terrific celebration and homage to the grand game of street hockey."
Globe & Mail
The story moves at a lively pace, and illustrator Griffiths's hockey players are both comical and endearing.
Our narrator recalls a visit to Cousin Etienne on the farm, for two wonderful days of street hockey, played with its own equipment (everyone wears a number 9 sweater,) rules, team choosing, and wild adventure. Everybody scores, and the game goes on all day, until the players gradually go home. Hot chocolate is the final tradition. The story ends with a surprise¾our narrator is a mom, passing the number 9 sweater on to her apprehensive daughter with the reassurance that she'll "do just fine" in the street hockey game to come. Griffiths brings warmth to the story as he helps us feel the chill of the snowy landscape, the vibrancy of the gang, the pacing of the game, even the heat of the stove on the bare feet and the comfort of the chocolate. The watercolor drawings are just detailed enough, while full of action and distinctive personalities. 2002, Orca Book Publishers,
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Etienne (nicknamed ET) takes his visiting cousin (the unnamed narrator) out to play street hockey in the snow. The neighborhood children improvise an exciting game dominated by their own rules, which ensure that everybody plays and gets the chance to score. Bouchard devises a clever twist when the cousin reveals her identity. The final spread shows her as an adult passing along her hockey sweater (a gift from ET that she's saved through the years) to her daughter. Large, colorful, and expressive cartoons show hockey-playing youngsters whose faces radiate enthusiasm and a love of the game (even though the noses look as if they all belong to the same family). There is a dearth of picture books on hockey, and this one can fill a gap.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Bouchard trumps our expectations in this winsome tale of how they play hockey in the Far North. It’s winter, it’s Canada, and the sport is, of course, hockey. On a visit to Cousin Etienne’s farm, the narrator is stoked for a weekend full of hockey. But wait: "Where are our skates? Our pads and gloves," asks the narrator. "That stuff’s for city kids," Etienne says. "We play real hockey here. No skates. No pads. No helmets. Just a number nine sweater." (For the uninitiated, that’s Rocket Richard’s number when he played with the Montreal Canadiens.) We’re talking street hockeya nice twist and a subtle jab at the puristsand the kids have a blast, a hard-playing, high-scoring, play-’til-you-drop blast. The narrator even gets the pleasure of showing some nice moves and gaining the respect of the other players, in a sport where respect is never a given. Then, just to throw another move on his audience, Bouchard (Qu’appelle, above, etc.) reveals that the narrator is a girl, now a woman passing on the old number nine to her daughter. Those hats and clothes have masked her gender throughout, thanks to Griffiths’s (Give Maggie a Chance, not reviewed, etc.) clever art. He really gets into the spirit of the lark; the contestants are gamesome, open-mouthed, and good-natured, for in Bouchard’s story there are no winners or losers, just a bunch of kids who play on and on until the dinner bell calls. (Picture book. 4-8)
Read an Excerpt
The ball hit the road and the game was on.
Once the game started, time stopped for me.
For all of us.
We played. And played. And played.
And were they good! I never saw a pro handle a puck the way these kids handled an old red ball.