Victory at Paradise Hill
Review by Reesa Cohen
Brownridge’s love for the game of hockey shines through once again, as it has in his previous two Moccasin goalie titles, The Moccasin Goalie ( CM II, No. 6) and The Final Game ( CM IV, No. 4). His stories often feature the underdog, the small, the downtrodden, who rise to the occasion despite their difficulties, and this title is no exception.
“Bad news kids. The league has ruled that Danny and Anita can’t play anymore. Petou, you can try out next week. Anita, Danny, I wish things were different.”
Our hopes, crushed in a few words.
That last phrase sets the stage for this story as it not only refers to Danny, but it also relates to his brother, Bob, a player for the Toronto Maple leafs, who has returned home. Like the author, Danny’s strong feelings for hockey colours his view of life, but it is his character and spirit, despite life’s disappointments that sustains everyone and imbues this tale with a sense of hope.
Although the idea behind the story is charming, and the ending has a positive feeling, the writing fails to engage the reader in caring. And even with the apparent danger of a winter storm, the very simple text and lackluster dialogue fail to create a sense of rising suspense.
What the text lacks in intensity is made up for in the bold, richly coloured paintings. They truly echo a prairie setting and give the story an authentic exuberant feel. Particularly appealing are the atmospheric and striking paintings which capture the prairie storm.
This story will be of interest to young fans of Brownridge and of our national game.
Reesa Cohen is an Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
2003 CCBC Our Choice
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