Shark: (Wolfbay Wings Series #6)

Overview

Shark's one of the worst players on the Wingsone of the infamous Spaz Line. He's fat and slow, and his hockey sense is pitiful. If it werent for the fact that he's needed to fill the roster, he wouldnt be a Wing at all. But one night a miracle happens: he scores the game-winning goal with a beautiful play. Shark's sure the play was a fluke, but his teammates actually expect him to improve. Even worse, they're getting mad when he doesnt, and they're freezing him out. Shark's puzzled by their attitude. He'll never ...
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Overview

Shark's one of the worst players on the Wingsone of the infamous Spaz Line. He's fat and slow, and his hockey sense is pitiful. If it werent for the fact that he's needed to fill the roster, he wouldnt be a Wing at all. But one night a miracle happens: he scores the game-winning goal with a beautiful play. Shark's sure the play was a fluke, but his teammates actually expect him to improve. Even worse, they're getting mad when he doesnt, and they're freezing him out. Shark's puzzled by their attitude. He'll never be a real player, like Prince or Cody. He's destined to be a hopeless spaz, a toothless Shark forever. Isnt he?

As Shark's hockey game improves and he becomes a puck-hog, he alienates himself from his teammates and discovers that a nickname must be earned, not taken for granted.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leslie Julian
"Can a person be proud of something he does in the course of a sporting contest . . . ? Is a game just a kind of artificial world unto itself, inside which once can do good things or bad things, with the comfort of complete meaninglessness? But what about the emotions one inspires in one's teammates and opponents-don't these feelings (loyalty, pride in others, faith, dependence, fondness, or the base opposites of these good emotions, as held against kids who simply happen to be wearing shirts of a different color) really occur and last and matter?" Follow "Shark" through an adventurous hockey season full of swift action and growth-sparking contemplation as he struggles to answer these questions, find his place in his world, and make his minister father proud.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8Shark begins the hockey season as the "fattest, slowest, most confused hockey player," having been recruited because the team needs more players. Brooks gives readers an intense look at a boy who is happy just playing his oboe in competitions and helping his father, a minister in the local church, and doesn't think he's missing anything, until he is introduced to hockey. Jargon flavors the play-by-play action. Young people active in any sport will relate to the feeling of loss at the end of a season. However, Shark's personality lacks the sharp definition that is so successful in the earlier books about these boys. Also, because the plot and motivations are more confusing than in the others, this story is the weakest of the series to date. Still, readers who have enjoyed discovering the individual personalities of the players on the Wolfbay Wings' team won't want to miss it.Blair Christolon, Prince William Library, Manassas, VA
Kirkus Reviews
The latest installment in the thoughtfulþthough action-orientedþWolfbay Wings series (Woodsie, 1997, etc.) moves away from the better members of the team to Sebastian, jokingly nicknamed Shark, one of the "Spaz Line" of players who are there to fill empty positions. His teammates have a lot of good-humored tolerance for poor players; what they won't tolerate is that Sebastian is a rapidly improving player who won't give up his safe place and give it all he's got. The intelligence that informs the book is every bit as sharp as the action: As in the previous books, Brooks combines youth-sized attitudes and thoughts with parenthetical, often more sophisticated, musings on a wide variety of related subjects. He takes for granted the nobility and honor accorded the athletes, and demonstrates an easy, impenetrable respect for readers. Unlike the other entries in the series, however, this one has more philosophizing than action, and the sentence structure can be daunting: One sentence goes for nearly a page. It's still a fast, compelling read, and several notches above anything else of its kind. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060275709
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/1998
  • Series: Wolfbay Wings Series , #6
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 118
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.61 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I am an ice hockey player. I go by the name of Shark.

Pretty easy to remember, isn't it? Pretty cool image to carry around. A twisting torpedo of writhing muscle. Keen with that alertness that makes intelligence seem slow. Roaming relentlessly, sharptoothed, fight-ready, eager to slash at the slightest opening, with no conscience, no mercy— leaving no remains.

Shark. Kind of says a lot about a guy, especially when that name is chosen for him, by a bunch of tough, gritty, hardass ice hockey players who don't hand out favors to anybody.

Shark. It's a name I earned for one reason, then lost, then earned again for another. That's hard. That's work.

How did I earn it first, this name of speed and death and grace? It was easy. I earned it by being the fattest, slowest, most confused hockey player on my team, the Wolfbay Wings Squirt A's. When I tried to stickhandle, I often lost the puck and my stick as well. At least twice a game I would get spun around and my "ice sense" would tell me my team was supposed to head in the direction that was actually reserved for our opponents. I once shot on my own goalie (missed the net, but I worried him for a minute). My idea of defense was managing to drag an opponent to the ice with me as I frequently fell; my idea of playing team offense was managing to skate at least three strides (without the puck, of course) in the right direction, without going offside. I was awesome.

So the nickname was a kind of joke, as was the general name for the four or five of us who had been recruited to fill empty roster spots, and had no business on skates holding hard sticks with which we very wellmight injure ourselves: we were the Spazzes, or sometimes, the Spaz Line. Yes, it was a joke, but let me tell you, it was also a badge of honor. Because when I took the ice-and all of us Spazzes skated regular shifts, same as the stars-I took it without apology, without resignation, without shame. I took the ice-even in full wobble-with pride, buddy. I was a Wolfbay Wing. I wore the blue and black and white; I was one of the first three on the ice at every practice and one of the last three to leave; I worked my fins off, and if the results didn't show much at first, who cared? I was playing hockey. And one day-who could say?-one day maybe I was going to eat me some people.

But as I said, before then I had my muchtreasured name cruelly taken from me by the same teammates who gave it the first time. Did that hurt? Oh, it hurt all right. But I had to remember the vital thing you hear about sharks: They never stop moving, never, always swimming every second, from birth to death.

Here's the story of all this tough swimmin', and how close one fat fish came to bringing it all to a very bad end and-who knows? -suffering through next year being called something like "Bait."

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