Saturday, March 27, 2021

Review: Breaking the Ice by Angie Bullaro

Sports is a popular theme among young least, that's what my librarian friends out there keep telling me. And with March just happening to be Woman's History month, I was excited to get my hands on today's read. Not only do these pages hit both areas, but it even wraps it up into a wonderfully illustrated picture book. Add a good portion of inspiration and determination, and this one is for more readers than just hockey fans.

If I could, I'd now pop-in We Will Rock You from Queen...I attended a hockey college, and that was, of course, the song played during warm-up before the game. So, let that roll through your ear and off we go!

by Angie Bullaro
Illustrated by C.F. Payne
Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book Non-Fiction
40 pages
ages 6 to 10

The inspiring true story of Manon Rhéaume, the first and only woman to play a game in the National Hockey League, featuring an afterward from Manon herself.

“One day, a woman will play in the National Hockey League. If no one prevents her,” said a twelve-year-old Manon Rhéaume. Manon always dreamed of playing hockey. So, when the team her father coached needed a goalie, five-year-old Manon begged for the chance to play. She didn’t care that she’d be the only girl in the entire league or that hockey was considered a “boys’ sport” in her hometown of Lac-Beauport, Quebec, Canada. All she cared about was the game. After her father gave her that first chance to play, she embarked on a spectacular, groundbreaking career in hockey.

At every level of competition, Manon was faced with naysayers, but she continued to play, earning her place on prestigious teams and ultimately becoming the first woman to play a game in the NHL. Including an afterword written by Manon herself, Breaking the Ice is the true story of one girl’s courage, determination, and love for the sport.

GOODREADS   /    AMAZON   /    B&N    /    KOBO    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY


                                            * introduces readers to Manon Rheaume
                                            * well-done, realistic illustrations
                                            * for slightly older readers
                                            * note from Manon herself at end
                                            * timeline at end


In true tale fashion, the inspiring account of Manon Rheaume's desire to play hockey despite gender borders comes to life.

Manon Rheaume grew up in Canada and loved playing goalie for her brother's backyard hockey games. When her father was missing a goalie for his younger team, she begged to take the spot. Despite reservations, her father agreed but only if she wasn't seen without her helmet to hide the fact that she was a girl. But Manon soon proved her place on the ice through her skills. When an American team owner saw her abilities on television, her hockey dreams took a leap she never thought possible.

This is a book, which screams inspiration. It starts out with Manon as a young girl, snuggling right up with readers as they're shown how normal she really is. The author goes step by step, allowing her fight and determination to come across clearly as well as her own realization that each new step might really be the highest rank she'd ever achieve. There isn't any bitterness on her part but simply the desire to play hockey and convince people of her right to be on the ice through her own capabilities and skills. It's inspiring without ever feeling exaggerated or fed with extra tension to make the story bigger and better. And I appreciated that.

The illustrations have a more realistic style to them, and these are well done. The text is heavy for young listeners and is more appropriate for slightly older readers, ages 6 and up. The tale is interesting and allows it to unfold in a true story fashion, making sure dates and details are left mostly to the side. These are then added at the end of the book in a timeline. There's also a letter from Manon herself, which adds a nice, personal touch.

Anyone who wants to learn more about Manon, women in hockey, loves hockey itself, or enjoys sport tales is sure to sink into these pages.

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