Saturday, May 2, 2020

Review - Hockey in the Wild

Hockey in the Wild (Life in the Wild)
by Nicholas Oldland
Date: 2020
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

The lovable Life in the Wild trio can't wait to get out on the ice to play hockey. Except, well, they're going to have to! It's wintertime, and the bear, the moose and the beaver can't wait for hockey season to start. They're so eager, in fact, they head out onto the ice before it's thick enough, and they all fall through. Twice. While they wait for the lake to freeze, they try to take their minds off hockey. There's competitive napping. Karaoke. Lots of comfort food. Until, at last, the day arrives when the ice is ready. But, after all that time not being active, are they ready? Part of the bestselling Life in the Wild picture book series from Nicholas Oldland, this funny romp is, at its heart, a love letter to the sport of hockey and the joys of playing in the wild outdoors. Oldland's distinctive dry humor shines here, making this a fun read-aloud. But the hilarious visual story --- including the character's facial expressions and numerous asides --- mean children, even nonreaders, will also want to spend time with the pages on their own. Children who love hockey will appreciate the friends' devotion to the game and the difficulty of waiting for conditions to be just right, but every child who has had to wait for something (that is, every child) will relate to the situation. In this, the book offers some character education lessons on patience and perseverance. Separately, there are connections to healthy outdoor activity and winter safety.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I've read all the other books in the Life in the Wild series. For me, this one is the weakest. The story isn't very interesting, and although there are some amusing moments, the whole thing doesn't live up to the humour and heart of the other books.

The beaver tries to go swimming one day, only to find that the lake has frozen over. So he gets his friends, the bear and the moose, to come and play hockey with him. Unfortunately, the ice isn't thick enough for that, and they all end up falling in. While they wait for the weather to change, they do lots of other activities. Finally, it gets cold enough for the ice to thicken, and the animals can enjoy their hockey game.

I guess this might appeal to hockey-obsessed kids, but that's about it. I don't know that I'd even recommend it to fans of the series if they aren't really into hockey, because there's really not much more of a story here. The animals have to wait to play. That's about it. It's not like there's a problem for them to actually solve; patience is all that's required, and while that's a decent message, it makes for a fairly boring picture book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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