Monthly Archives: September 2014

Is Your Hero a Saint?

The Hockey Saint

Length: 150 pages

Author: Howard Shapiro

Illustrated by: Marica Inoue

Publisher: Animal Media Group

Publication Date: 10/14/14

Rating: 5 Stars

I must admit football is my favorite sport. No, I mean American football. Unfortunately National Football League has been under the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Its sad that a few bad apples can reflect poorly on a league that has over 2,000 players but that is the world we live in. Professional athletes are held to a higher standard because they serve as role models whether they want to or not. What does this have to do with books? It has everything to do with The Hockey Saint.

Tom Leonard is a college sophomore with a lot on his mind. Personal tragedy rocks his world and hockey becomes his escape. He is a very talented player and proves himself to the coach and the team. One evening Tom meets his hockey hero Jeremiah Jacobson and Jeremiah takes Tom under his wing. This friendship blossoms and Tom realizes you can’t always believe what you hear in the press. After seeing first hand that his idol is charitable, Tom finds that idols aren’t perfect.

Critically acclaimed author Howard Shapiro has put another great ensemble together for this graphic novel. The Hockey Saint is illustrated by Marica Inoue, colored by Andres Mossa of “Spiderman” & “Deadpool” works and featuring a cover drawn by Neil Googe of “Batman & Judge Dredd works. Shapiro marries illustration and text to tell a great story that teens and adults can relate to.

I have not been a big fan of the graphic novel but The Hockey Saint changed that. This story was thoughtful and quite cleverly written. The dialog was believable and as I found myself so absorbed into this story I felt somewhat like a voyeur. I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading many more Howard Shapiro books.

You can purchase this book here.

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A Roller Coaster Ride in This Children’s Book

Goat and the Terror Birds

Length: 35 pages

Author: PJ Gilbers

Illustrated by: Nicolas Longprez

Publisher:  Isabella Willow Publishing

Publication Date: 9/1/14

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

When my children were young, they used to watch the same videotapes over and over. Yes, I’m dating myself.   Toy Story was a favorite of theirs. I could not understand why they insisted on watching it over and over. Why watch it again when they could recite the movie from heart. Then I thought about it and realized why not reinforce a great message?

Goat and the Terror Birds is quite an escape. I thought reading a children’s book would be a cakewalk. I was mistaken! I read this book, put it down and reread the story. There are a lot of working parts to this tale.

Mac, dealing with his mother’s recent death has moved in with his Aunt Maddy and his cousin. Aunt Maddy is a loving and caring person happy to take Mac in but is struggling to make ends meet. Mac’s father is off exploring Africa in search of the “Terror Birds” believing it is his destiny to discover these elusive creatures and earn his way back to see his son.

While Mac is settling into his new environment a neighbor comes over. The neighbor just happens to be a Sir William, a goat. Sir William comes to their house and destroys the kitchen fixing them a sweet snack. Mac is horrified knowing his aunt will be home any minute, but lickity split just like that, the Sir William cleans the kitchen until it sparkles. Dr. Seuss’s Cat in The Hat comes to mind.

Sir William comes from a long line of goats that pride themselves on helping the less fortunate. Every time a crisis comes up, Sir William is there to help in very creative ways and fills in as a surrogate father to Mac.

There is a lot going on in this story. A young child dealing with a parents death, a father how is not around when a child needs him most, a young boy getting used to his new surroundings while being bullied from the neighborhood villain. Are you scared yet? You shouldn’t be. PJ Gilbers does a great job of showing strength in here characters. She shows that children are resilient and you walk away feeling good from this heartwarming story. This is one of many forthcoming adventures of Sir William and I can’t wait to hear more.

Last but not least, Nicolas Longprez’s illustrations really bring this text to life.  Coupled with Gilber’s story telling this book is a great start to a series.

You can purchase this book here.