Wendel and the Great One

Reviewed: February 10, 2009
By: Mike Leonetti / art by Greg Banning
Publisher: Scholastic Books
32 pages, $19.99

This is the story of David and how he learned to be a good leader. When he was appointed the captain of his hockey team he wasn’t sure how he should handle the task. One of his school teachers assigned him a research project about leaders, both in sports and in national life. That helped. He watched other, more seasoned leaders and picked up some pointers about what to do and what not to do. Perhaps most important, he watched his hockey heroes, Wendel Clark and Wayne Gretzky.

This was the year that Clark’s Maple Leafs and Gretsky’s L.A. Kings met in the conference finals so David was able to compare the two leaders side by side and see how to lose properly as well as how to win with style.

Leonetti tells a decent story, packed with all sorts of information about more than just hockey. Banning has used a very realistic style of illustration which fits the story.

This tale must be set in 1993-94, which is the last time the two teams met in a conference final, and was also the year Gretzky was ill most of the season, which is mentioned in the story. I started looking this stuff up because the classroom map in the book didn’t show Nunavut, but that would have been correct, since it wasn’t formed until 1999.

What isn’t right, however, is the score for the final game between the two teams. The book has 5-4 for the Kings and everywhere I looked I found 4-3.

It’s probably a minor point and certainly does nothing to harm the story, but it will drive the hockey fans nuts.