A Hero Named Howe


32 pages
ISBN 1-55192-931-7
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Greg Banning
Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


A Hero Named Howe follows the pattern used by Leonetti in previous
books, like Number Four, Bobby Orr! (2003), and My Leafs Sweater (1998),
in which a young hero-worshipping boy has an opportunity to be present
at an NHL game when his favourite player achieves a milestone, such as
Orr scoring a Stanley Cup winning goal or Darryl Sittler recording 10
points in a single game.

During August 1963, Charlie attends the Detroit Red Wings hockey school
held at the Detroit Olympia stadium. There, he meets his idol, Gordie
Howe, and other Red Wings players. As the 1963–64 season gets
underway, Charlie follows the Wings on radio and TV, because Howe needs
only five goals to surpass Rocket Richard’s all-time NHL scoring
record. Among Charlie’s birthday gifts that fall are a Howe-authored
hockey book and tickets for the November 10, 1963, Red Wings–Canadiens
game. Attending that match with his father, Charlie encounters Foster
Hewitt, another person whom Charlie admires because the youngster has
decided that, should he later lack the requisite skills for the NHL,
he’ll become a broadcaster like Hewitt.

With his father’s encouragement, Charlie does some play-by-play
announcing in the stands, and gets to call it when Howe scores his
record goal.

Although the storyline is thin, the book contains much information
about Howe and concludes with brief bios of Howe and Hewitt. With one
exception (the zombie-faced hockey school illustration), Banning’s art
superbly captures his characters’ expressions as well as the interiors
of a 1960s home. Recommended.


Leonetti, Mike., “A Hero Named Howe,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/22736.