Moonlight hockey a winter treasure

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What is more Canadian than skating outdoors on the first day the pond freezes over?

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/11/2017 (1842 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

What is more Canadian than skating outdoors on the first day the pond freezes over?

Etobicoke, Ont., author Paul Harbridge recalls the excitement of playing hockey under a full moon as fall turns into winter in When the Moon Comes (Tundra, 40 pages, $22, hardcover).

With a touch of nostalgia, Matt James provides the colourful illustrations that remind us there was a time when playing hockey was simpler and less expensive.

The children wait for the full moon to bring ice to the beaver flood as they warm up their skates around a campfire.

With backyard rinks and cleared spaces on our rivers, many youngsters will identify with these images.

Harbridge’s clear and simple prose makes this picture book a tribute to one of the joys of winter.

● ● ●

Sometimes, two writers are better than one, and this may be the case in The Lost Causes by American authors Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz (Kids Can Press, 344 pages, $19, hardcover).

Five troubled teens in the same high school are recruited by the FBI for a secret assignment: to find a murderer.

They have each been given an unidentified substance that gives them supernatural abilities — to read thoughts, to see ghosts, to have incredible strength or superior mental power.

Their former disabilities — addiction to narcotics, sudden anger, a lack of focus — are reduced.

The teens realize that by working together, they can solve this crime, but in what danger will that place them? And is the FBI really working for them or against them?

Etting and Schwartz have collaborated on multiple TV and film scripts and produced one other book series, Georgetown Academy.

The Lost Causes is written for young adults aged 14 to 18.

● ● ●

Twelve-year-old Alba has one overwhelming ambition: to run in the two-kilometre cross-country race with her schoolmates.

There’s just one problem — she was born with a condition in which her foot turns inward.

In The Theory of Hummingbirds, by Australia-born, Toronto-based author Michelle Kadarusman (Pajama Press, 160 pages, $18, hardcover), Alba struggles to both fulfil her dream and keep her connection to her best friend, Levi.

In this book for a middle-grade audience (eight to 12 years), the reader readily identifies with Alba’s efforts.

Kadarusman also provides plenty of information on hummingbirds, which have such small feet that they only perch, never walk.

● ● ●

The Night Lion by German author and artist Sanne Dufft (Pajama Press, 32 pages, $18, hardcover) should make any child who has problems sleeping at night feel easier.

Morgan loves to wear a sword and a fancy hat and he pretends to charge athis enemies during the day, but at night, he dreams of dangers behind every tree.

A wise Nana gives him a gift of a toy lion to protect him from harm; Morgan imagines himself riding the lion into battle and sleeps peacefully.

● ● ●

With a mixture of fantasy and realism, Pablo and Birdy by Minneapolis author Alison McGhee (Atheneum/Simon and Schuster, 288 pages, $24, hardcover) tells the charming story of a 10-year-old boy, Pablo, and his inseparable companion, a parrot he has named Birdy.

Pablo and Birdy, lashed into an inflatable child’s swimming pool, washed up on the beach of the little town of Isla when Pablo was a baby.

Taken in by Emmanuel, owner of Seafaring Souvenirs, Pablo is well cared for, but wishes he knew how and where he came from.

The only one who knows is Birdy, and Birdy never speaks.

It takes a once-in-a-lifetime storm and a magical event for Pablo to solve this mystery.

For eight- to 12-year-old readers.

Helen Norrie is a Winnipeg author and lover of children’s literature.

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