Once in a while, you come across something that makes you go “man, I wish I had that when I was a kid!” Usually it’s some toy or doo-dad that I see when I’m shopping for toys that a friend’s kid can annoy said friend with. This go-round, it’s a book.
Kate’s Really Good at Hockey would’ve been perfect for me as a kid. Was I good at hockey? No. Can I skate? Define “can.”
Do I love hockey and did I love it when I was a little girl? Hell yes.
When I was younger, I would’ve loved to’ve had a story about a girl who liked hockey as much as I did. Then again, I was a kid in the 80s and 90s, so that wasn’t going to happen. One of the perks kids have nowadays is being able to see people like them in their media, whatever that media might be. This graphic novel, written by Christina Frey and Howard Shapiro (The Hockey Saint), illustrated by Jade Gonzalez, and colored by Liezl Buenaventura, is a smorgasbord of representation. Fans of non-traditional market teams? Kate’s from Nashville and representing their growing youth team culture. Nayeli’s from the super non-traditional market of Ecuador. Did you ever want to see the Icelandic team from Mighty Ducks II turned into three French Canadian girls? Boom.
The story’s aimed at late elementary school/middle school aged readers - it’s easy to follow, has some suspense in there, and it isn’t too super challenging for young readers. The illustrations and inks pop and are engaging, the characters are emotive, and the hockey is full of action.
It’s a great story for boys and girls alike, but I’m glad that this came across my desk as an adult woman. I’ve got something to recommend to friends who have kids that are growing hockey fans. It’s nice to have a book that’s not only engaging to the youngsters but also a good story to boot. And heck, it’s endorsed by Hayley Wickenheiser, so what more do you want?