________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 6. . . .October 8, 2010


Timberwolf Prey. (Orca Echoes).

Sigmund Brouwer. Illustrated by Graham Ross.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2010.
56 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 978-1-55469-109-8.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Jonine Bergen.

** /4



When the players on both teams shook hands at the end of the game, Johnny apologized to Dale once more.

"I didn't mean to hit you," Johnny said.

"Don't worry," Dale said. "It didn't hurt."

"But you were bleeding," Johnny answered.

"Sure," Dale said. "That's because I bit the inside of my cheek while I was lying on the ice. Pretty smart, huh? To win the game, all I had to do was show the referee some blood."

Dale laughed at Johnny. "You're such a loser."


Within the first seven titles of the "Timberwolves" series, Tom, Stu and Johnny have learned about friendship and girlsand have played prankshave helped each other out of scrapesand have played prankshave eaten gross foodand have played pranks; and through it all, they have played hockey. In the eighth and final title of the "Timberwolves" series, however, Johnny may have met his match. Timberwolf Prey moves the plot away from the three musketeers' interactions to focus specifically on a dilemma that Johnny must solve on his own.

internal art     In Timberwolf Prey, Johnny may have to learn one of the hardest lessons of all: how to be true to one's principles while controlling one's temper when being baited, intentionally or unintentionally, by someone else. On the ice, the Timberwolves have made it to the championship finals. The series should be an exciting set of games resulting in the team that plays the best taking the trophy. Unfortunately, the outcome of the series may hinge on Johnny's ability to deal with an opponent from the other team, Dale, who knows that not playing by the rules may take Johnny out of the game. In fact, Dale is proud of his ability to provoke Johnny into getting penalties without getting one himself. This time, the joke is on Johnny, and, if he is unable to learn to control himself and his temper, the whole team may find themselves losers. Can Johnny learn to play so he can be proud of himself on and off the ice?

      To make matters worse, at home, Johnny finds himself on the losing end of his six-year-old cousin's desire to help him. Johnny knows Sarah is only trying to help, but he still cannot appreciate the mousetrap on his alarm clock, his deleted school report or his toothbrush being used to brush his dog's teeth. Can Johnny keep his cool with a troublesome helper?

      As with the rest of the series, Brouwer ably weaves a believable tale around a life-lesson using humour, likable characters and the great Canadian game of hockey. The illustrator, Graham Ross, continues to support the emerging reader and the plot line with simple black and white drawings that emphasize the gamut of emotions felt by the main characters including shock, surprise and frustration.

      Together, this team has created a chapter book that will appeal to a wide audience of readers. Sports fans will not be disappointed with the hockey scenes, and the jokesters will chuckle over Johnny's mishaps.

      "Orca Echoes" has long been an excellent source for quality early chapter books, and the Timberwolves series has been a great addition to this line of titles. Although it will be sad to see Johnny go, readers will be watching to see what new Brouwer characters will be joining the Orca family in the future.


Jonine Bergen is a librarian working in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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