My Granny Loves Hockey by Lori Weber and illustrated by Eliska Liska, Review Copy from Simply Read Books
Granny loves Hockey.
She always has.
But when she was little, girls were not allowed to play.
With the help of her granddaughter, will Granny finally get the chance to fulfill her dream?
In classic Simply Read Books fashion this book is equal parts beautiful and charming with a dash of heart.
Readers enter, in first person, the story of a young girl and her hockey loving Granny. Together they watch hockey, they talk about hockey and they dream about hockey, but they don’t play hockey together because Granny no longer walks and therefore, cannot skate. Granny, who as a child wasn’t allowed to play hockey because she was a girl, is wheeled out to the park by her granddaughter where she gives loud (and helpful) commentary while she watches kids play. Her granddaughter doesn’t stay at the park very long because Granny gets cold and needs to go home. But not even the doctor can stop Granny from going out to the park to watch hockey. What her granddaughter really wants to do is get her Granny on the ice and playing. With the help of the boys and girls at the park, Granny finally fulfills her dream and takes a shot on the net.
Lori Weber, author of several YA books (Klepto and If you live like me), has written a heartening picturebook script with My Granny Loves Hockey. Like her YA novels, the picturebook doesn’t necessarily end on a nice clean resolution. Though Granny does get her shot on the net the effort tires her out and she falls asleep on the ride home and her body jerks and twitches as though she is dreaming of hockey. For me, though she wakes up at the end of the story, it is unclear whether or not Granny either really made the shot on goal or really wakes up at the end. The book can certainly be read as thought it has a happy resolution, but there is ample room for a more realistic and ambiguous ending, intentioned or not, which I quite like.
The illustrations, by Eliska Liska are sytlized and clean. I really enjoy the colours of winter that she uses, the landscape manages to come to life even blanketed in tones of white. Our little protagonist is very salient in her red jacket reminiscent of Red Riding Hood – which makes me want to read the fairy tale element into the story and perhaps supports the ambiguous conclusion reading.
As always the design and layout of the book are magnificent, the text resting on beds of snow and barely interrupting the story of the images. The cover is textured so that the white feels smooth while the characters and colours are shiny with a slippery feel to them.
This may just become a classic Canadian Hockey Picturebook and is certainly a great idea for a gift to a girl who plays hockey, perhaps a gift from a grandparent – or, I think that it could be used to approach the topic of ailing health in a family member and how to handle the situation (which is, of course, to treat the person just like anyone else and to keep on living life to its fullest!).