Young Joey has a case of the belly butterflies on his first morning with his new hockey team.
What if everybody else is better than him or the coach is mean or no one talks to him or he has to go to the bathroom? “My stomach hurts.” But he starts to gather himself by getting suited up (the soothing presence of his parents helps, too). Sure, he puts his gloves on first, which doesn’t work, and he gets his skates on the wrong feet, which doesn’t work either, but the other kids are all nervous and fumbling, so he’s just part of the gang. Then he hits the ice, and things click: a nice pass, a goal, a high five. Though Torrey’s artwork is all delicate lines and generally light washes of color, it conveys the angst and the action with notable success. What he catches so well are the flutters and apprehensions, which are instantly recognizable for anyone who has ever experienced the joining a new team. And satisfying indeed is the message sent by the new coach: “He says if we always try our hardest, we’ll get better every time we play. But mostly he tells us to have fun.” No nutty hockey dads need apply.A welcome, salutary message all around. (Picture book. 4-8)