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Children's Fiction Hockey

Bobby Orr and the Hand-me-down Skates

by (author) Kara Kootstra & Bobby Orr

illustrated by Jennifer Phelan

Initial publish date
Sep 2020
Hockey, Siblings, Canada
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 8
  • Grade: p to 3


Even hockey legends start with hand-me-downs. A beautifully illustrated true childhood story about hockey great Bobby Orr.

Bobby eats, sleeps and breathes hockey. So when his birthday is coming up, he only wants one thing: new skates. He's seen the exact pair he wants in the shop window: sparkling blades, shiny leather, clean new laces tied in perfect bows. But when Bobby opens his gift, he's dismayed to find hand-me-down skates: scuffed leather, nicked blades, floppy laces.

Once Bobby breaks them in, though, he and the hand-me-down skates become inseparable, and he can't imagine life without them . . . until the brand-new skates come into his life. How can he leave his hand-me-down skates behind?

Log Driver's Waltz illustrator Jennifer Phelan brings this classic story to life with timeless, gorgeous art, and Kara Kootsra's words evoke the joy and dedication that Bobby Orr brought to his favorite sport. A perfect gift for readers and fans big and small, this book is destined to be a classic that is reached for time and time again.

About the authors

Kara Kootstra's profile page

Bobby Orr's profile page

Jennifer Phelan is a soulful visual communicator. She finds magic in the understated details surrounding her sense of place. Home informs her creative identity and her vision whether in a suburb, a forest enclave community or the pedestrian and pet friendly Toronto Junction neighborhood, where she now lives with her artist husband Gleb and their two cats. Jennifer is an award-winning illustrator with published works in American Illustration, 3x3, and Creative QuarterlyHey, Boy is her first children’s book. See more at:

Jennifer Phelan's profile page


  • Short-listed, Shining Willow Award

Editorial Reviews

“The images for this story are marvelously engaging . . . An excellent contribution to Canada's current hockey collection of illustrated hockey stories. Highly recommended.” --CM Magazine

"The ultimate message of the book is, well, perfect. It really is just perfection, without being schmaltzy . . . a wonderful piece of writing and storytelling for kids (and the whiny adult in your family, thanks, I have my copy now)." --Pro Hockey News

“[T]he young hockey player in your life will surely love Bobby Orr and the Hand-Me-Down Skates by Tecumseh native Kara Kootstra and NHL legend Bobby Orr.” --The Drive

Other titles by Kara Kootstra

Other titles by Bobby Orr

Other titles by Jennifer Phelan