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Friday, 17 October 2014

TBC: Tryout Trouble

Thanks to how busy things have been today, this review will probably be posted late. However, I am still pushing hard to make sure that I read as often as I can, so today will feature another great book in Irene Punt's series. I have reviewed a number of her stories already, so let's continue today as Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Tryout Trouble, written by Irene Punt, illustrated by Ramon Perez, and published by Scholastic Canada. Once again, the boys are deep into hockey in this story as they have advanced a grade in school and there are new tryouts for the Glenlake Hawks! Like Miss Punt's other stories, there is a great lesson in this book, and I hope that I've convinced you to get your young hockey-loving readers into these books!

Irene Punt is a former teacher who has transformed her energy in the classroom into an unbridled passion for her subjects on paper. She received a Bachelor of General Studies degree from Simon Fraser University, and took up teaching as a way to give back. She studied children's literature at S.F.U. under David Booth, and developed a passion for writing from Mr. Booth's teachings. Her move to Calgary from Vancouver prompted her to begin writing children's books, and has scribed picture books, novels, TV scripts, and stage scripts. Her other Scholastic hockey books include The Rink Rats, The Funny Faceoff, and Hockey Rules!.

Miss Punt puts us back into Thomas Hiller's life as he and his friends and teammates - Mark, Stuart, and Jordan - are preparing for another school year after a summer of street hockey. The boys know that hockey tryouts aren't far off, and they have spent all summer working on their skills and improving. Mr. Watson, Stuart's neighbour, calls them over for a mid-game slushy drink, and informs them that he's moving to Florida! He also tells the boys that the new family has a hockey-loving son who is moving in, and this gets the boys excited!

The boys meet up at the school's playground on the first day of school, and they're all excited. However, Tom recognizes a red-haired boy from across the playground. It's Harty from the Northland Bulldogs! What was he doing at Tom's school? Well, Harty's family bought Mr. Watson's house! Tom immediately introduces Harty to Mark, Stuart, and Jordan before they head off to class.

As the days roll along, Harty begins to become better friends with Tom's friends. Tom, sensing his popularity amongst his friends diminishing, becomes jealous of Harty's successful friendships. With hockey tryouts starting, Tom was suddenly not as enthusiastic about Harty being his teammate because of what was happening off the ice. What would happen between Tom and Harty? Would they be teammates? What if Harty made the team and Tom didn't? Could they be friends? Would Tom re-establish his old friendships? How would this be resolved? Miss Punt teaches an excellent lesson in this book about how friendships work, and how one should often try to see the other side the coin before doing something rash.

Tryout Trouble is another well-written book by Miss Punt, and the lesson about friendship written into the 81-page story is all too familiar to anyone trying out for a team with friends. Moreover, Miss Punt really isolates the story of the new kid at a new school and all the changes that he has to make in Harty rejoining the story. However, Tom's conflict with Harty is an excellent lesson, and it's one that Miss Punt has woven through the minor stories well. Tryout Trouble is another excellent book in the series, and absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

You can find Tryout Trouble at your local library or bookstore. The book is listed for just $5.99 in Canada, meaning that it won't dent your wallet too much in order to get your young reader into this story. Pick up this book for your young hockey star to read!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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