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Louise Leblanc
Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Montreal, La courte echelle, 1991. 64pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 2-89021-158-4. CIP

Grades 4 to 6/Ages 9 to 11

Reviewed by Doris Lemoine.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

Louis Leblanc's novel, Sophie lance et compte, in the "Premier roman" series at La courte echelle, triggered a long-forgotten memory - that of a friend whose greatest joy was to be allowed to act as goal tender when her brothers played hockey. Even back in the 1950s girls dreamt of playing on a boys' team, and being goal tender was the ultimate!

Sophie is such a girl with such an ambition. Few take her seriously, with the exception of her grandmother, who encourages her to pursue her dream. To make a dream come true, "mamie" says, one must let it out of one's head just as a magician lets a rabbit out of a hat. Following that advice, Sophie must first convince her brother Laurent, who is the goal tender for the "Lutins rouges," to let her replace him in their next game against a formidable foe, "Les araignees noires." As she tackles one obstacle at a time, she comes to realize that making a dream come true is possible if one is willing to pay the price, and she realizes that success can be sweet even if it is short lived.

Having written mostly for adults, Louise Leblanc has successfully made the transition to young readers in this, her second novel for children. Her warm, humorous portrayal of family life seconded by Marie-Louise Gay's illustrations brings a fresh, new look to children's literature. The title, Sophie lance et compte, will certainly attract attention, and the controversy sur­rounding the topic of girls' playing on a boys' team should spark lengthy discussions and even initiate a great debate in the classroom. Because of the interest in the subject, the range of readers, both boys and girls, may be wider than with other novels in this series.

Doris Lemoine, Direction des resources educatives francaises. Bureau de l'education francaise, Winnipeg, Man.
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