NORTHERN LIGHTS: THE SOCCER TRAILS
MICHAEL ARVAARLUK KUSUGAK
ILLUSTRATIONS: VLADYANA KRYKORKA
TORONTO: ANNICK PRESS, 1993, 24 P.
ISBN 1550373390 (BOUND)
AGES 5 TO
In early winter, Kataujaq, a young Inuit girl, likes to play soccer with
other villagers, by the light of the moon, on broad, mile-long expanses
of sea ice. A note on the back cover explains that soccer is a traditional
game of the Inuit. As she plays, Kataujaq, who mourns the death of her
mother, is comforted by the Inuit belief that souls of the dead also love
to play soccer and can be seen, during the Northern Lights, running and
chasing their soccer ball all over the sky. The soft predominantly blue-toned
illustrations are accompanied on facing pages by examples of decorative
beadwork patterns. These patterns can also be noted in the mother's clothing
when Kataujaq searches and finds her one evening while watching the Northern
Lights streak across the sky.
OLYMPICS 100: CANADA AT THE SUMMER GAMES
VICTORIA, B.C.: ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS, 1996, 236 P.
14 AND UP
From Percy Williams's extraordinary victory in the men's 100 metres at
the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics to Silken Laumen's heroic bronze medal performance
at Barcelona, Olympics 100 chronicles a century of Canadian achievement
at the Olympic Summer Games. Although there are few pictures (and no supporting
indexes), this book is a pleasure to read. Stories of courage, triumph,
tragedy and defeat are presented in a relaxed and entertaining narrative
which effectively captures the suspense and emotion surrounding Olympic
competition. Olympics 100 offers both recreational and educational components
for young adults.
NOTE: Another book by the same author, Celebrate the Spirit:
The Olympic Games (Victoria: Orca Book Publishers, 1996), written in collaboration
with Deanna Binder, provides information about the summer Olympics for
younger children, ages 8 and up.
THE PERFECT GYMNAST
MICHELE MARTIN BOSSLEY
TORONTO: JAMES LORIMER, 1996, 76 P.
AGES 8 TO 12
In this fast-paced, easy-to-read novel, 12-year-old Abby moves to a new
city, goes to a new school, takes up a new sport (gymnastics), overcomes
her shyness, and helps a friend who is bulimic. The book packs a lot of
information about gymnastics, bulimia, and interpersonal relationships
into 14 short, snappy chapters and 76 pages. The story is straightforward,
full of action, with plenty of references to contemporary adolescent concerns.
As part of Lorimer Publishers' winning series, Sports Stories, it is designed
to attract reluctant readers as well as to provide recreational reading
for children who are interested in stories about sports.
NOTE: Look for
other titles in the series on basketball, swimming, horseback riding,
and numerous other sports.
VICTORIA, B.C.: BEACH HOLME PUB., 1994, 109 P.
9 TO 12
When Rana Bains, a young Sikh boy, Canadian by birth, tries to sign up
for the Dinway Pee Wee hockey team, he encounters resistance and senses
that he is not wanted. He has known about prejudice all his life and had
learned about it in his grade five class at school, but he had never really
been hurt by it until now. As he stubbornly battles discrimination, he
and a teammate, Les Johnson, become friends even though Les's father,
a laid-off mill worker, tries to keep Rana off the team. Throughout this
highly charged novel, Rana learns about loyalty and sportsmanship, the
importance of differences, and the difficulties in overcoming racism.
SKATEWAY TO FREEDOM
VICTORIA, B.C.: ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS, 1993, 150 P.
9 TO 12
When her family flees their East German home in the middle of the night,
eleven-year-old Josie must leave everything behind: her friends, her grandmother,
and, worst of all, her precious ice skates. It is a heartbreaking experience
and her new life in Canada is not an improvement. Her first "home" is a
shack without running water or electricity. Classmates at her school laugh
at her accent and funny clothes. It is only when she is given a pair of
figure skates and is offered a chance to take skating lessons that she
begins to feel like she belongs. This book presents an enlightened and
emotional account of a family's triumph over the danger, poverty, language
barriers, and culture shock often experienced by refugees and immigrants.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME
ILLUSTRATIONS: MARYANN KOVALSKI
RICHMOND HILL, ONT.: SCHOLASTIC
CANADA, 1992, 30 P.
Almost everyone knows the words to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", but
the story which Kovalski tells in her illustrations is original. There
is only one thing that Jenny and Joanna like better than playing ball and
that is going to a Blue Jays' game with their Grandma. Outings with Grandma
are so much fun, but things never ever turn out as expected. This time
Grandma gets caught up in the excitement of the game, slips over the bleachers,
catches a fly ball, and saves the day for the home team! Kovalski's illustrations
reflect the joy and anticipation embodied in the beloved baseball song
and convey the energy and excitement of the game in progress.
THE TOILET PAPER TIGERS
NEW YORK: SCHOLASTIC, 1993, 195 P.
AGES 9 TO
Corey Johnson plays left-field for the Feather-Soft Tigers, a.k.a. the
"Toilet Paper" Tigers, in this zany, fast-paced novel about nine "losers"
who couldn't make any other Little League team in town. The team is coached
by a loveable old physicist who knows zilch about baseball and his granddaughter,
Kristy, who goads, threatens, and blackmails the team from last to first
place over the summer season. Although told from Corey's perspective, each
chapter focuses on one of the team's players and on the unorthodox methods
employed by Kristy to tap each player's unrealized potential. The last
chapter is Corey's and he is disarmed not defeated by a surprising
turn of events. This is a funny book which will entrance Korman's legion
THE WAGNER WHACKER
ST. CATHARINES, ONT.: VANWELL PUBLISHING, 1996, 224 P.
AGES 11 TO 14
Matt Killburn is more than just a fan he's a dedicated student of baseball.
When his mother tells him that they must move to a farm in Fergus, Ontario,
he is miserable about having to leave his baseball league and his best
friend Sanji. But farm life turns out to be a lot more exciting than Matt
expects. While exploring an old barn on the property, a strange machine
knocks Matt on the head and sends him back to 1928 where he meets Butts
Wagner, inventor of the Wagner Whacker baseball bat. Butts knows everything
about baseball, and even has a baseball diamond in his backyard. When he
wakes up, back in the present, Matt resurrects Butts Wagner's lost dream
and also helps his own family.
Since he damaged his foot in a car accident one year ago, Todd isn't sure
that he'll ever climb again. When he hears that a local mountaineers club
is planning to scale the Witch's Fang, one of the last unclimbed peaks
in British Columbia's Coastal Range, Todd is compelled to try. Even as
a kid he dreamed he would be the first to make the treacherous ascent and
reach the top; in his imagination, he's climbed the Fang a thousand times.
Convincing his sister, Jesse, and his best friend, Howie, to join him,
Todd sets out furtively to conquer the peak, his father's advice ever-present
in his thoughts: "Trust no hold on the Witch's Fang."