________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 18 . . . . January 16, 2015


Tryout Trouble.

Irene Punt. Interior images by Jason Laudadio.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2014.
185 pp., pbk., $5.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-3345-6.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Elaine Fuhr.

**** /4



Tom took long, slow strides while bending and stretching to warm up. The coaches stood at centre ice. The evaluators sat in the stands, holding clipboards and pens. Their eyes followed the skaters as they began gliding around the rink. Tom broke into a swift pace.

A whistle blew. Tom listened.

"Skate forward. We're watching your crossovers," shouted a coach.

As Tom cruised by the scorekeeper's box, Harty passed him and took the corner with ease.
Hmm. Nice. Seeing that, Tom concentrated. He pushed hard and sped up. He looked into his turn, led with his stick, kept his shoulders up. The toe of his blade hit the ice first as he stepped over and over-pushing with his edges. SWOOSH. SWOOSH. He took the corner beautifully. His crossovers were nearly perfect.

Tom loves to play hockey. He loves his team and the fact that his best friends play hockey, too. His coach is great. But it is tryout time, and that is way more stressful than the first day of school, which is coming up too. Hopefully, Tom and all of his friends will be on the same team this year, but things are changing. They aren't in the same class at school, and a new boy has arrived. Harty is new to school, but he is not new to Tom. They went to Champs Hockey camp together, and Tom is excited to introduce him to all of his best buddies. Harty is a really good hockey player, and, suddenly, Tom realizes that Harty will be competing with him for a spot on the team. At school, Harty gets on very well with all of Tom's friends, and it seems that Tom is the one left out. Because jealousy is not a feeling that Tom is familiar with, he hangs back, sad and confused. What is going to happen at hockey tryouts and at school?

      Irene Punt has written a sensitive, realistic novel about young boys and their trials both at school and in sports. It takes a lot of confidence to go through tryouts in hockey and growing up in the school setting. Learning to deal with changes can be difficult. I thoroughly enjoyed Tryout Trouble because it talks about issues that children deal with daily, and it shows how Tom and his friends deal with growing up and facing new challenges. The illustrations add interest. Young readers will just get caught up in Tom's experiences and in the excitement of the game, perhaps relating their own experiences with those of Tom and his friends.

Highly Recommended.

Elaine Fuhr is a retired Alberta teacher of elementary and middle school.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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