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Tough Loser
     

Tough Loser

by Barthe DeClements
 

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Nine-year-old Jenna cares for new puppies while trying to help her thirteen-year-old brother Mike, whose temper threatens to ruin his chances of becoming a hockey star.

Overview

Nine-year-old Jenna cares for new puppies while trying to help her thirteen-year-old brother Mike, whose temper threatens to ruin his chances of becoming a hockey star.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The acclaimed author of Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade and The Pickle Story here offers another believable slice of middle-grade life. Nine-year-old Jenna, the narrator, and 13-year-old Mike, to whom the title refers, live with their parents in the Washington State countryside. Mike, the talented goalie of an otherwise inept hockey team, keeps losing his temper as his team loses games. Though preoccupied with a newborn puppy, Jenna is devoted to her brother and usually tries to help him hide evidence of his rampages from their parents. But when Mike shoves Jenna after another team defeat, their parents hear her cry out, and they declare that he will not be able to go to the goalie camp he has set his heart on attending. How Jenna deals with her guilt at having blown the whistle-and how she helps bring about an upbeat resolution-add up to an endearing and lively tale. Dialogue rings unusually true, moving the narrative along gracefully. DeClements has shaped a realistic portrait of a likable family. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Nine-year-old Jenna and her thirteen-year-old brother Mike are having a rough winter. They feud over everything. Mike's hockey team can't seem to win, and he violently loses his temper after each loss. Jenna has fallen in love with a chow puppy from the litter her mother needs to sell. Mike won't get to hockey camp if he can't cure himself, and Jenna has to learn to deal with the devastations that a much desired puppy can wreak on critical school projects. Only when sister and brother bury the hatchet and work together can their problems be solved in this preadolescent morality tale.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Jenna is a nine-year-old with typical preteen problems. One of them is dealing with her older brother's bad temper. Despite the fact that Mike is an excellent hockey player, his team loses every game, and he vents his anger and frustration by bullying his sister. However, Jenna's primary concern is convincing her parents to let her keep one of their champion dog's puppies, which they intend to sell. Against their advice, she becomes attached to Tan Tan. The family physician is given the pick of the litter because his dog sired the pups; he fortunately has a great affection for Jenna and gives Tan Tan to her. There are elements of a good story here, but the superficial characterizations are a disappointment. With the exception of one scene, in which Jenna thinks she has lost Tan Tan and her fear and ultimate relief come through, she remains a one-dimensional character. Readers are told that Mike hates to lose but learn little about him and why losing is so painful for him. The theme that we all must learn to accept disappointment, loss, and rejection is a good one. However, readers may feel a limited connection to the characters and therefore not identify fully with them.-Ann M. Burlingame, North Regional Library, Raleigh, NC

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140370751
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
11/01/1996
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.33(d)
Age Range:
8 Years

Meet the Author

Fourth Grade Wizards, Double Trouble, I Never Asked You to Understand Me, and Bite of the Gold Bug: A Story of the Alaskan Gold Rush (Once Upon America).

Barthe Declements is an author of children's and young adult books. Some of her published credits include Fourth Grade Wizards, Double Trouble, I Never Asked You to Understand Me, and Bite of the Gold Bug: A Story of the Alaskan Gold Rush (Once Upon America).

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