Hockey Agony

Category: Chapbooks for Tweens
Author: Donna McDine
Artist: Julie Hammond
Paperback ISBN: 9781616333607; 161633360X
eBook ISBN: 9781616333614; 1616333618

Peer Pressure and Honesty many times go hand-in-hand. What is Larry to do when his teammate asks him to cheat when he is given the responsibility to run the clock during the big hockey game? Outwardly, it may seem he will follow suit, but his conscious tells him otherwise at the moment of truth.

2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+
New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014
Story Monster Approved Award.

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hockey agony

Book Trailer:

The author keeps the story plot simple and introduces readers to the problem right away. Because this is a picture storybook, you don’t get defined, in-depth characters as the author doesn’t have the page count to develop them much beyond a picture book character. The story does move a bit faster than a chapter book, but the transitions are smooth and propel you into next scene with ease. Readers will relate to the simple problems of peer pressure and honesty. This is also a great book for boys or reluctant readers because of the short story style and sport setting. ~Reviewed by Virginia S. Grenier, author and Stories for Children Publisher

In "Hockey Agony" a modern young boy must learn to fight against not only peer pressure, but dishonesty, injury, and a struggle with his own attitude problems. I very much enjoyed McDine's portrayal of the hockey players. Teenage boys are a challenge to understand, parent, and love, but McDine developed her characters as if they were telling her the story themselves. ~Reviewed by Traci McDonald, writer and book reviewer

What a wonderful chapter book for teens. The book addresses important issues such as attitude, respect, discipline, cheating, honesty, and peer pressure. It is a must-read for all children age 8 and up. Who would have thought that playing hockey would have be so agonizing and have so many important lessons for the players? But playing hockey, as most other sports, teaches kids a lot of important habits and it makes them much more resilient and able to cope with many of life’s challenges. When his peers and friends learned that he would be running the clock at the hockey game, they tried to set him up to lie and cheat. But when push came to shove, he acted honestly and with integrity. What a GREAT message for kids! I recommend this book for all older kids and teens. It will teach teens and kids many important lessons about peer pressure and honesty. And when all is said and done, honesty is more important than belonging to any group. Rating: 5+ Star ~Reviewed by Irene S. Roth, freelance writer and book reviewer

The book beautifully captures the attitude and behavioral problems of children. It is a good book with good art work done by Julie Hammond. As all of Donna M. McDine's books, that I have reviewed, this book also imparts important lessons to children regarding honesty and behavior. The book comes highly recommended.~ Reviewed by Zealot Readings ~

"Hockey Agony is a great lessoned learned for kids, really of all ages. I love the illustrations and love the message." ~ Debra Beck, Empowered Teens and Parents

Hockey Agony, by Donna McDine and illustrated by Julie Hammond, is a must read. I like the subject matter of the book. As a parent and educator, I am always looking for books that teach about integrity. The main character Larry, a teenager, and excellent hockey player, can’t play because of a broken leg. Much to his dismay a bully has taken his coveted spot on the team. Coach gives Larry the job of clock runner in the next game. Peter, the bully expects and pressures Larry to cheat in favor of their team. Will Larry bow down to temptation and cheat in favor of the team? As parents, we hope the lessons we teach our children will help them make the right decision in times of pressure. We can’t be with our children twenty four hours a day, we can only hope they take the high road and do the right thing in tough situations. Julie Hammond’s artwork captures the essence of the story. The facial expressions give the story that extra special feeling of being there in person. Hockey Agony is a classic book, and I believe it can be used to teach children how to handle (peer) pressure.
~Reviewed by Nicole Weaver, Award-winning Children’s Author

Julie Hammond’s artwork is suggestive of Americana folk art – an enjoyable and picturesque style – that adds to the feeling of the story. She’s captured the characters; giving us “true life” facial expressions and body language. Her depiction of high school life is timeless and even other-worldly, as if we see the scenes through a special soft lens.
As parents and teachers, we hope the lessons we present on honesty, integrity, giving your word, and doing your best will be absorbed and integrated into our students’ characters. The reality is that we seldom get to see whether these lessons bear fruit. Talk, as they say is cheap, and actions speak volumes. When presented with temptation, will our students find their moral and ethical center? Will they take the high road and do the right thing? We all are tested throughout our lives and have important choices and tough decisions to make. Read Hockey Agony and see how Larry handles his temptation.~Reviewed by Penelope Anne Cole, Award-winning Children’s Author

This book addresses attitude, respect, peer pressure, discipline, cheating and honesty. I highly recommend this book. ~Reviewed by Ella Johnson

Both these books have valuable lessons hidden within these excellent stories and make for excellent reads. I encourage you to check out both these books this holiday season. Donna is a wonderful writer who obviously knows what children enjoy reading. These books would made excellent Christmas treats! Both books are available at AMAZON, and I highly recommend them!~ Reviewed by Sharon Stanley, children’s author "Hockey Agony, is sure to deliver. The action is fast-paced. The drama is real. Every reader will relate. Just in time to provide a great read for boys and hockey fans everywhere!" ~ Nancy I. Sanders, bestselling and award-winning children’s author of Challenge on the Hill of Fire and Frederick Douglass for Kids.

"Hockey Agony takes a new twist when his teammate asks him to cheat by turning the clock in their favor. Larry is caught off guard by that request and he does not know what to do. Larry's emotional upheaval is well portrayed here. Children who are into any sport will find this book enjoyable because it deals with the details of a game, the winning spirit, and the good and the ugly side of competition.

Larry's emotional and physical pain, and the thoughts that race through his mind make the book emotional for the reader. Will Larry listen to his teammate and cheat or will he uphold his ideals and do the right thing?"~Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite Five Star Review

"Hockey Agony is a story that addresses the importance of honesty; maintaining a positive, respectful attitude; and not succumbing to peer pressure. Parents and teachers will appreciate the important messages brought up in this book. McDine’s masterful, descriptive story-telling, coupled with Julie Hammond’s colorful illustrations will draw in young readers. This is a must-read book!"~Reviewed by Stacey Marshall, author of Captain Courage and the Fear-Squishing Shoes~

"Hockey Agony written by Donna McDine and illustrated by Julie Hammond is a story to serve many adolescents who come up against decisions that could alter the way they see things and eventually send them down the road of dishonesty. This is a great book for kids to identify with the pressure of issues they are faced with many times over. Most kids want to be honest, but many weaken under peer pressure. Does Larry stand up to an arena of cheering fans, or does he falter and help his team to victory? I recommend this book for pre/teens, as life lessons and assurance back up what most kids feel when faced with peer pressure. Great book for boys and girls. I give it five stars and a hockey stick! Woo Hoo!" ~ Reviewed by Susan Hornbach, author of children’s literature ~ &

Hockey Agony is steeped in teen angst. Larry is on crutches, and he does not appreciate Coach Brennan’s blah, blah, blah, homilies. Coach has a good heart, but Larry will have none of it. And when Coach asks Larry to be the clock runner for Friday’s game, it’s a twist that really puts the outcome in question. Will Larry sideline his attitude and run the clock? Will he shave off a few seconds, as hinted at, if needed? And will his co-clock runner Matthew, from the enemy team, be a push over? Maybe, maybe not? The title says it all. Hockey Agony author, Donna McDine, knows teen boys. So my advice is: read this book ASAP, and discover the answers for yourself. ~Reviewed by Margot Finke, children’s author.

Hockey Agony is informative and useful in thematic units. Especially ones about health and sports. However the most important lesson was to be honest with yourself. Larry faces an inner dilemma and a dilemma with his teammates. Larry has to weigh keeping his friends or being true to himself. This is a lesson that everyone has to learn. It is never too early to learn about peer pressure.
5/5~Reviewed by Deal Sharing Aunt