The Puck Drops Here
The Puck Drops Here
Karl stared into the darkness. “Mo! You in there?”
“Are you a killer mouse?” DJ called.
“Would you get out of here!” Karl said, shoving DJ back. “Goalies! Sheesh!”
Then, from inside the gloom, came a loud grunt, like a bear waking up from a winter sleep, followed by the scream of twisting metal. All five skaters looked up, their eyes rising as their jaws dropped.
Mo walked into the light. Each step pounded on the floor like a jackhammer, his now incredibly wide shoulders pulsing against, and bending, the metal scaffolding.
Mo shook his head, looking slightly woozy.
“Whoa. I think I fell over. It was like I was all top-heavy.” He noticed the crushed boards. “Are these made out of cardboard or something?”
The other five were too shocked to say anything.
Mo noticed their drooping mouths. “What?”
Starlight raised a finger higher and higher.
Mo looked down at himself and froze. His jersey, loose and baggy just minutes before, was now stretched and ripping at the seams. His shin-pads could barely contain his legs.
“WHOA!” Mo said. “Is this all me?” He poked then flexed his muscles. They made a sound like crunching rocks. “Sweet!”
The Puck Drops Here is the origin-story-turned-epic-first-battle of author/illustrator Kevin Sylvester’s dynamic new team of superheroes, the Hockey Super Six. Teammates Jenny, Benny, Mo, Starlight, DJ, and Karl are just looking for a place to practice their hockey skills when they accidentally find themselves turned into superheroes, thanks to a blast from a freeze ray created by supervillain Clarence Crosscheck. When Crosscheck realizes what he has done, he unleashes a team of giant Ice Squids (the product of another diabolical invention) to get rid of the Super Six. As the Super Six learn all about their new powers, they find themselves facing down the Ice Squids in the ultimate hockey game—to the death!
There are a lot of things to like about this book; in particular, I appreciated that, while it was the origin story of the Super Six, it was also their first adventure, making the book both fast-paced and full of action rather than a lot of explanation. The members of the Super Six are introduced via hockey card-style stats in the first chapter, giving readers a clear picture of who they are and what readers might be able to expect. One of the six, Karl, takes longer than the others to figure out what his superpower is, which provides a nice message: some people find their footing or special skills later than others. There is also a comment from his mother, the Prime Minister, that “each team needs someone who’s the GLUE that keeps the other parts connected” and that in and of itself is a special skill.
Something I don’t love about the format of this book is the constantly-changing font. While it’s mostly written in a larger, easy-to-read font, there are sentences, words, and phrases sprinkled throughout each page that are bold, capitalized, or in a different font altogether. It’s a technique I’ve seen in other books for this age range, usually intended to draw the eye and keep the reader engaged while giving the book a more comic-book style feel. I just found it a bit overused here; it might have been more effective if it was limited to parts that required special emphasis.
Full of “punny” hockey humour, especially for those bilingual readers (a sentient hockey puck named Ron Dell acts as Crosscheck’s assistant, and Prime Minister Patinage not only leads the country, but a secret society that identifies threats to the world), this book will likely appeal to fans of “The Almost Epic Squad” or the “Bad Guys” series. It’s got a team of smart and feisty kids, some comic-book style illustrations, and an action-packed plot—what more could a kid want? A sequel, perhaps? Judging by the way Sylvester ends this story, that’s not too much to ask.
Allison Giggey, a teacher-librarian at an intermediate school in Prince Edward Island, has a hockey-obsessed son who does not (as far as she knows) have superpowers.