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Book Review – Hockey Night Tonight

Hockey Night Tonight: The Hockey Song by Stompin’ Tom Connors with illustrations by Brenda Jones takes Connors’ well known song and brings it to life visually. The board book was supplied to the reviewer by the publisher – Nimbus Publishing.

The Saint John, NB born and Skinners Pond, PEI raised Stompin’ Tom Connors is a legend in Canadian music. Among his list of honours include being named to the Order of Canada in 1996, ranking thirteenth – the highest rank for any artist – in the CBC’s (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) The Greatest Canadian list, and his picture graces a stamp in the Canadian Recording Artist series of 2009.

If you have been to a hockey game it is very likely Connors’ The Hockey Song was played at some point. If you are not familiar with the song, it can be found on iTunes or most of your favourite digital music sites and in CD form.

Brenda Jones is an experienced and very talented illustrator who has worked on such books as Skunks for Breakfast and Buddy the Bluenose Reindeer, to name a couple. Her effervescent artworks tell the story of the song through a wonderfully average family – father, mother, two children, a cat and a dog – as they prepare for the almost religious experience of watching the hockey night in Canada game on television.

Jones brings the quintessential rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs to life within the tensions of this happy family. The Hockey Song first appeared on a Stompin’ Tom album in 1973 and although the song is generic in terms of teams or players, there is a mention of “Bobby” scoring a goal. Much speculation as to who this “Bobby” may reference has been made, but given the time period of the seventies it may be meant to add to the neutrality of the song since, although Bobby Orr immediately stands out, there were other star players with the moniker such as Bobby Clarke and Bobby Hull.

This is an ideal book for any family with young hockey fans and this reviewer can not imagine anything better than enjoying this book with a child while the hockey song plays, although the song becomes secondary, as you will want to revel in the artwork and enjoy the timelessness of the words.

Hockey Night Tonight is available through Nimbus Publishing, Amazon and your local bookseller. It can be found in board or paperback.

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