Robin Redbreast

Robin Redbreast
Birds can represent the fluttering, darting thoughts of intuition. This is why little birds helped Cinderella help herself.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cinderella #346 Splinters (Sylvester, K., 2010)


Cinderella #346 Splinters (Sylvester, K., 2010)
Illustration by
Kevin Sylvester
Once upon a time, in Canada, there lived a girl named Cindy Winters. She "loved hockey. Hockey made her feet tingle, her hands twitch, and her heart race." She was just plain crazy for hockey! She played it whenever, and wherever she could, which was "mostly on frozen ponds". She scored so easily and skated so swiftly that "it sometimes seemed she was magic." The one thing that she did not have was the chance to be on a real team, with "a real uniform and a real goal...not just a couple of old rubber boots." Now, Cindy could do more than just play hockey. She was a whiz at household chores, delivering groceries, and raking leaves. So, she went door to door amongst her neighbors, and sold these services. Soon, she had enough money saved up to "sign up for a real league". Her mom gave her her own old ice skates and gear, and they "headed to the rink". It was so exciting! At least, until Cindy met "the Blister Sisters. They could tell she was one good player, and were jealous." So they picked on her, and and tripped her up and and laughed at her mom's old gear. The thing was, they were the coach's daughters, so they got away with anything. Their mom, Coach Blister, soon skated over to meet the new player. She put her through her paces, then told her, "You've been making my daughters look bad. Now watch them. Maybe you'll learn something." And when Cindy protested, Coach benched her. At the first game, Cindy was so excited about getting to wear her new uniform. Which is why she was so horrified to find it vandalized: Splinters had been scrawled right over Winters. They didn't even let her onto the ice that game, and she went home glumly. It happened one day that "Cindy saw a notice on the billboard." It announced tryouts for "an all-star hockey team. Each team is allowed to send its two best players." The Head Coach, a young womany by the name of Charmaine Prince, was to choose just one player from each pair. Of course, groaned Cindy to herself, Coach Blister would send her girls. Both of them. Which left no chance at all for her to prove herself. The next morning, Cindy went downstairs to the basement to get her gear. Suddenly, it became "very, very cold. Cindy heard music, like an old pipe organ." That's when she saw the "little old woman, not more than two feet tall, hovering in the air. She was wearing a mask and old leather goalie pads. " When she told Cindy that she was her very own "fairy goaltender", and had come to help Cindy make the all-star team, all Cindy could do was ask how in the world she would ever get across town to the rink.Then, "with a graceful swing, the fairy slashed Cindy across the leg with her magic hockey stick." Yelping in pain, Cindy realized that she was now dressed in the  "most stunning white-and-gold uniform." On her feet were "a new pair of smooth white leather skates." Glass slippers were "not very practical for hockey" the fairy goaltender told her, then pointed outside. There Cindy saw "a sparkling new Zamboni". So she hopped in. The fairy told her that "the spell ends when the final buzzer sounds. You must be off the ice." Cindy said she would be, and then she was off. Try outs had already begun, and Coach Charmaine Prince was fretting. She had yet to find her star. Then Cindy skated out onto the ice, "between the pylons: backwards, forwards, crossing over both ways. She took the puck cleanly on every pass and passed the puck perfectly in every drill." Wow! Maybe this was the one! So she quickly formed up two teams from the assembled girls, and sat back to watch. The Blister twins were Cindy's opponents. Cindy "was terrific, swooping when the other players swiped, weaving in and out" and scoring! But the other team kept pace, and soon they were tied, 7-7. She was so wrapped up in the game that she completely forgot the time. And then the Blister girls "hooked her with hteir sticks". Cindy fell, and one of her skates slid right off her foot. She "stumbled, but as she fell, she lifted the puck up and into the top corner of the net. GOAL!" Everyone cheered. But Cindy knew she had to get out of there, and fast. Without even going back for her skate, she jumped into her waiting Zamboni and rode home. The following day at practice, all anyone could talk about was the search for that hot player. Coach Charmaine was visiting every team, making all of the girls try on the white skate the girl had left behind. But when Charmaine came to Coach Blister's gymnasium, that wicked woman ordered Cindy to go out shopping for "new tape and pucks for every player" on the team. And threatened her with throwing her off the team if she came back empty handed. Now the twins got ready for the big try-on. They waited until the other girls were changing out of their shoes, then "stomped on the feet of  every other player on the team." So their toes swelled up and they would never fit a dainty white ice skate. Coach Charmaine was pretty discouraged when the whole team flunked the skate test. Fortunately, just then, "Cindy walked into the room, sagging under the weight of forty rolls  of tape and three buckets of pucks." When Charmaine asked who this girl was, the "twins snorted. "Splinters? That clumsy slob? She can't even afford decent skates. There's no way she'd have one as nice as that." But of course she did! And as she slid it on, "the twins were speechless". Then Cindy pulled the other skate "out of her duffel bag and put it on." That's when "the fairy goaltender appeared", wielded her magic hockey stick, and hey presto! "Cindy's old clothes transformed into the finest hockey equipment anywhere." Oh, were the Blister Sisters mad! But Coach invited Cindy to be on her all star team, and Cindy, of course, said she'd be delighted to. As they "walked out arm in arm, Cindy and Coach Prince knew they were both going to love hockey happily ever after."
From: Sylvester, K. (2010) Splinters. Canada: Tundra Books
Notes: I love this story! Such a fiercely good girl book! Scanner down; no picture. 

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