Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 12/01/2014 K-Gr 3—A predictable but touching story about doing what you love despite expectations, gender, or family, and finding your own path. Born into a fanatical hockey family, Henry Holton is a natural on the ice and is expected to be a prime left or right wing the moment he's able to hold a stick. The only problem is that the minute Henry has a stick in his hands, his feet are all "in a muddle." He loves skating up and down the ice and soon discovers, much to the dismay of his family, that figure skating is more his style. After his parents refuse to buy him figure skates, he boycotts the rink until his MVP grandmother steps in and tells him a little secret that helps resolve the family issue. Henry is a relatable character illustrated with an open sincerity that will draw in young readers, as will the plethora of detailed illustrations on each page, such as those of Henry's room or the crowd at the rink. A glossary of hockey terms will help novices to the sport, making this a pleasant read for fans and anyone else. A sound choice for general purchase.—Ashley Prior, Lincoln Public Library, RI - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/15/2014 In Henry’s family everyone plays hockey except Grandma, who stopped only because of a hip injury. Henry teethed on pucks and skated as a toddler. He was a natural, until Dad put a stick in his hands. Suddenly, he felt clumsy. At seven, Henry discovers his passion: ice dancing. Flummoxed, his father tries to nudge him toward hockey, but Henry refuses to take to the ice without picks on his skates. Grandma, once a figure skater, becomes an ally, and, in the end, even Dad supports Henry in pursuing his dream. In her first picture book, Bradley tells a well-crafted, satisfying story in which Henry articulates his views, sticks to his guns, and wins in the end. Attractive and accessible, the artwork digitally combines colored pencil, graphite, cut-paper, and watercolor elements. Henry’s story may be message-driven, but it will be heartening to the many children whose passions sometimes confound or disappoint their parents. A good choice for reading aloud. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2015 Hockey is the center of the Holton family universe, and, just like all his family members, little Henry has been skating since he could toddle. Imagine his parents’ and sister’s chagrin, though, when he can’t manage the stick. Even worse, he doesn’t much care (“Instead, Henry twisted and turned, weaved and wound. He swayed and shuffled and shimmied”). An evening at an ice dancing show convinces Henry he’s got the wrong gig-he needs to lose the stick and acquire skates with pick (“I need to dance”). It takes some calm but firm reasoning for Henry to convince the family that ice dancing isn’t just for girls, and with his formerly figure-skating grandmother on his side, he gets new skates, a new skating coach, and after “sixty-nine tries,” the newfound ability to “dash down the ice, spin like a top, and finish with one foot high in the air.” Palacios works in easy tandem with Bradley, taking Henry’s dilemma seriously but conveying it with a humorous touch in her expressive mixed-media scenes. Kids will chuckle over the pileup Henry’s slick moves cause in a hockey games, and the protest poster (“Picks!”) he brings to the rink while on strike. However, they may also manage to muster a little sympathy for Henry’s befuddled family, who can’t quite comprehend how a child can demonstrate ability, but lack drive. Tykes fighting their own “I gotta be me” battles, whatever the arena, will surely empathize. EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.