Christmas is coming…

It’s already infiltrating stores at the mall.  I am not kidding.

My nephew is over two years old. I am the doting aunt and he will have the best book collection known to any kid in the free world. Because I’m his aunt.

He lives with my brother and sister-in-law in Atlanta, which just lost its hockey team. The chances of him becoming a hockey player in any period of his life is slim, but I’m hopeful. Because I’m his aunt.

I already have his Christmas presents bought.

2011 Christmas Present #1

(Photo from Google Images)

Hat Tricks Count by Matt Napier is a numbers picture book. It’s a nice, quality book, so don’t let your kid chew on it. There is a board book version and a paperback. I’m a snob in regards to my nephew’s library, so hardback it is for me. The illustrations by Melanie Rose are beautiful, but not too polished. Like hockey and the players themselves.

The book covers 1-12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40 – 100 (By tens). Number 1 made me pause and sigh.


When you think of hockey numbers

1 should come to mind.

The Great One is his nickname.

He wore the famous “99.”

(from the beginning of the book.  There are no page numbers!!)


And right there is an illustration of Wayne Gretzky on empty ice, waving to a cheering crowd.

(Photo is taken from book with my camera phone. Belongs to publishers Thomson Gale)

If this wasn’t enough, on the sidebar of the page, two paragraphs of older-aged language (Late elementary age, I would think) expounding on Gretzky and other retired numbers and their players. It also goes on to talk about the “Original Six”.

All on one page!!!

Number 3 is, of course, the hat trick, including its history in the sidebar. Number 5 is the 5-hole (Don’t we all know that one so well). Number 20 (Her number was 21, but the little rhyme writes to add a 1 to 20) is Cammi Granato, the all-time leading scorer of the USA Women’s national team. I love that they included that. 100 is Terry Sawchuck who had 103 shutouts in 971 career games.

If this isn’t enough to motivate you to get out and buy this book, note that below the dedications in the front, it says: “As a special tribute to the North American origins of the game of hockey, we have chosen to use the Canadian spelling of selected words.” The reader has to search for the words and check on the last page to get the answers.

Excellent illustrations, history and facts mixed with teaching our young’uns (Told you I was Southern) their numbers. Go get it for your son, daughter, nephew, niece, cousin, friend’s kid or just find some kid and give it to him or her.

Hat Tricks Count by Matt Napier ****1/2 (out of five stars)

It loses half a star because number 25 is Hockey Night in Canada (Not because of Canada. I like Canada. They make hockey players). Apparently, there are close to 25 games each season that end up on a Saturday. The fact that it’s ‘close to’  and not the exact number bothers me. Or perhaps it’s the mention and blurry illustration of Don Cherry and his suits on the television screens on those pages.  And it loses it because of the fact that there are no page numbers.