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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

Ice Magic by Matt Christopher has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is part of the "Matt Christopher Sports" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Pie Pennelli plays Fly League hockey on a team called the Penguins. His older brother, Pat, is one of college hockey’s best defensemen. Pie believes he could be great as well, if he didn’t have to wear his brother’s hand-me-down skates. They are several sizes too big for him, but his parents can’t afford to buy new ones.

Pie’s teammate, Terry “the terrible” Mason, hassles him constantly. Terry’s brother, like Pat, is competing for a spot on the state’s hockey team. Pie doesn’t understand Terry’s animosity toward him. Pie’s neighbors Jody and Joliette Byrd are fraternal twins who often attend his games. After one game, they tell Pie his match turned out exactly like one they’d played the night before on an antique hockey game they found.

Pie and the twins are all interested in magic, so Pie is anxious to see their discovery. The kids play the toy game several more times and find their moves always come to pass on the ice the next day. A note with the game warns that if an event happens at the rink, then happens on the toy afterward, the magic will go away.

Terry overhears Pie and the twins talking about their magical game. He starts to eavesdrop and peer into the twins’ window. When the game goes missing, Pie accuses Terry of stealing it. The twins discover their father had moved it, so Pie apologizes to Terry.

Terry begins to soften after this, and Pie tries to be nicer to him. Coach Hayes tells Pie that Terry’s brother didn’t make the college team. Pie realizes this may be why Terry has been so unkind to him.

The toy game indicates something bad is going to sideline Pie in the next real game. He feels anxious on the ice as he waits for the predicted problem. He ends up breaking his skate. In the same game, Terry’s cat runs onto the ice.

Pie’s dad buys him a new pair of skates that fit. Pie’s relationship with Terry improves, and the kids invite Terry to play the toy hockey game with them. As they do, Terry’s cat runs onto the gameboard. Pie realizes this will negate the game’s magic. He feels a sense of relief that the magic is gone.

Christian Beliefs

Pie and Terry attend church on Sunday morning.

Other Belief Systems

Pie and the twins believe an antique toy hockey game has magical powers. They play it in hopes of learning the outcomes of Pie’s real hockey games. Pie and the twins are interested in magic and like to read about it.

Pie briefly mentions reading about different types of magic, including the entertaining kind magicians do, magic spells where people think they can summon rain to water their crops and black magic where people believe they can hurt a person by sticking darts into a doll.

Authority Roles

Coach Hayes defends Pie when Terry yells at him, and he helps Pie understand why Terry behaves as he does. Pie’s father supports his hockey playing, just as he encouraged Pie’s brother. He can’t afford to buy Pie new skates but does it anyway in the end.


A car hits Terry’s cat, injuring its hind leg. (This incident isn’t graphic but could be disturbing to young readers.)



Discussion Topics

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Additional Comments/Notes

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

9 to 14




Matt Christopher






Record Label



Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group Inc.


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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