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THAT’S HOCKEY by David Bouchard


by David Bouchard & illustrated by Dean Griffiths

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-55143-223-4
Publisher: Orca

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 hockey—a nice twist and a subtle jab at the purists—and 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)