Author: GLEN GRETZKY and LAURI HOLOMIS
Illustrator: KEVIN SYLVESTER
Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, SPORTS, INSPIRATIONAL, AGES 4-8
Length: 32 pages
Publisher: PUFFIN – An Imprint of PENGUIN CANADA BOOKS INC.
ISBN (Print Book) 978-0-670-06990-3
ISBN (EBook) 978-0-14-319494-1
Price: $16.99 HARDCOVER
Release Date: SEPTEMBER 13, 2016
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
The second I set eyes on this book, I knew that I had to have it. Being both Canadian and the mother of two boys means that hockey is in my blood. Plus, no self-respecting Canadian parent would pass up the opportunity to purchase a children’s book that is not only about hockey, but also conveys a very important lesson for both kids and their parents.
Come on! The Foreward is written by “The Great One” himself – Wayne Gretzky. In it he states: “I am very proud of this book and the message it gives to kids. Our Foundation’s Mission Statement is about helping to equip kids for life and that begins at home. Let’s ensure our kids have the encouragement, love and support they need to grow up to be strong and confidant adults. Every child should know that they’re Great.”
What an awesome message! And, it is a message that I agree with 100%.
Most fans of Wayne Gretzky are aware that his father – Walter Gretzky dedicated himself to making his son into both the hockey player and the man that he grew up to be. GREAT is inspired by Walter Gretzky.
In the story a boy named Taylor is excited to have made the hockey team of his dreams. He is going to be playing with Wayne – a kid who everyone is already calling “The Great One”.
The coach is Walter (Wally) Gretzky. Taylor is so nervous to be on such a great team that he doesn’t play very well.
Taylor wants to be the star of the game and when he hogs the puck rather than passing, his team loses. He tells Coach Wally that he knows the loss was his fault and that he thinks he should quit.
Coach Wally’s response is the perfect one. He is the kind of coach that every child deserves to have and Taylor ends up learning lessons not just about hockey, but also about life.
The illustrations in this book are PERFECT. The cartoon showing Taylor leaving for an early morning practice while his bleary-eyed Mom looks on reminded me so much of my own time as a Hockey Mom. Another illustration showing Taylor shooting pucks at a battered garage door made me laugh out loud in remembrance. Throughout the entire book are illustrations that any hockey parent and their child will love. I rate the illustrations as 5 out of 5 stars.
In fact, I enjoyed GREAT so much that I rate the entire book as 5 out of 5 stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This book is set to be released on September 13, 2016 – just in time for hockey season. It would also make a great Christmas gift for any hockey fan (regardless of their age.)
* I received a free copy of this book from the Publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
GLEN GRETZKY is the Executive Director of the Wayne Gretzky Foundation, which raises money to help children and families across Canada and the United States. Glen is also the Brand Manager for Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and continues to be involved in community events and fundraising. He lives in Brantford, Ontario
LAURI HOLOMIS has worked with the Gretzky Family and the Wayne Gretzky Foundation for many years. She continues to work in the sports world and is passionate about teaching kids confidence. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, Ryan, and son, Wyatt. The author lives in Toronto, Ontario.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:
KEVIN SYLVESTER is an illustrator, writer and broadcaster based in Toronto. His series, The Neil Flambe capers, is now out and loads of fun (according to him).
Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders won the 2011 Silver Birch award for Fiction. Neil Flambe and the Aztec Abduction was runner-up in 2012. Neil Flambe and the Crusader’s Curse is up for the 2013 Silver Birch. Kevin’s picture book Splinters was nominated for the 2012 Blue Spruce! Cathy Rondina’s and I won the Silver Birch for Non-Fiction in 2012 for Don’t Touch that Toad. My book Gold Medal for Weird won the 2009 Silver Birch for Non-Fiction.
Kevin has also been a broadcaster with CBC Radio in Canada for years and years (although he is originally from Western New York). Kevin is willing to have people contact him with any questions or comments. His email address is: email@example.com.
Photos and illustrations were all obtained through Kevin Sylvester’s website.