Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: Reality Check in Detroit

Publish February 26, 2015

Reality Check in Detroit, the latest in Roy MacGregor’s Screech Owls hockey series, delivers the goods: robust players, playful banter, zippy descriptions of hockey games, and a troubling mystery for the team to solve. With an affectionate homage to the hockey legends associated with the Detroit Red Wings and some thoughtful social commentary, it makes a satisfying read for kids who love hockey. All the familiar Screech Owls team members are back, including Travis, the easygoing captain, Nish, the irrepressible defenseman, Sarah the keen centre, and Data the computer whiz. The team is in Detroit to participate in a skills competition that is being filmed for a reality TV show. All the attention goes to Nish’s head, and he struts and swaggers for the camera, crowing about his latest shootout move, the spin-o-rama. At first the others are just as dazzled by the TV cameras, the expensive new hockey equipment and the promise of reality-TV fame, but soon they start to question the odd behaviour of the opposite team members and the disturbing machinations of the TV production team. The Screech Owls put their excellent teamwork skills to use as they engage in some behind-the-scenes sleuthing to figure out what’s real and what’s false in the heady world of reality TV. Unlike some of the more dramatic books in this series, Reality Check in Detroit is a gentle mystery where the stakes aren’t too high. Instead of confronting terrorists, kidnappers or murderers, the team has to struggle with their own values as they are exposed to the difficult economic reality of downtown Detroit and the contrasting glamour of their TV show. As wholesome and Canadian as a pick-up hockey game on a home-made rink, this latest addition to the enduring Screech Owl series (now with 26 books) is sure to engage both reluctant and regular readers.      

Reality Check in Detroit

Roy MacGregor and Kerry MacGregor
Tundra Books
ISBN 13: 978-1-77049-422-0