Review Blog

Aug 10 2010

Sports Stories Series by various authors

cover image

Raintree, 2010.
Each book in this series offers a senario where the main character finds a way to overcome a seemingly difficult personal situation. All the situations are resolved peacefully and without conflict. The language is modern and simple with lots of direct speech and short chapters. The text style may well appeal to non readers or those who find reading difficult. The modern black and white illustrations are large and bold and help interpret the text. Many sports not usually given space in the media pages are represented in these books and it's refreshing to see them brought into prominence, a little like the main characters in these stories. Each book gives a paragraph about the author and illustrator; an informative glossary plus two pages of words and phrases particular to that sport so that someone reading the book will have practical and useful information about that sport. Discussion questions and some writing prompts follow. A page of resources, both print and web based conclude this particularly well presented section. These books are written to entice the reader to believe in themselves and encourage discussion. It seems the series would be a useful teaching resource for incidents encountered outside school, where young people may experience awkward situations and may not have anyone to help them through the situation.

Skateboard save by Eric Stevens ISBN 978 1 406 21393 5.
Here it's the bully Tony, who threatens Joe not to enter the skateboarding competition. He and his friend Rob discuss the actions of Tony and his hanger-on friends, helping the reader to sift through the possible ways of reacting to the situation.

Record run by Eric Stevens ISBN 978 1 406 21400 0.
Harry learns that the best opposition is to run against the clock and this inspires him to continue running rather than being chased by Paul the running captain, who cleverly convinces Harry to join the team and become the youngest member.

Half-pipe prize by Eric Stevens ISBN 978 1 406 21411 6.
Tess is returning to Winterton to surprise her two best friends and to enter the annual snowboarding competition.Anna is delighted to see her but Sofie's behaviour worries Tess.; Is winning again more important than friendship? Tess discusses her dilemma with Anna and her parents and resolves her problem in an appropriate way.

Board rebel by Bob Temple ISBN 978 1 406 21395 9.
Mason has moved to a new school and there is nowhere to skateboard. When he finds the Curves he also encounters Benjamin the local bully and his family who seem to run the affairs of the town. With his friend Billy, he returns to his old skateboard area and meets Will, one of Benjamin's friends. An interesting situation ensues when Mason devises a scheme which enables him to skateboard and make friends.

Free throw by Anastasia Suen ISBN 978 1 406 21399 7.
Jason is giving Theo a hard time for the coach has chosen Theo rather than Jason, to play centre. Pressure is mounting on Theo for he just can't seem to gain the points from the free throws. Jason's unkind asides are very off-putting, so Theo works hard to find a way to succeed.

BMX bully by Anastasia Suen ISBN 978 1 406 21394 2.
Alex's father has bought the BMX track from Matt's Dad and Alex and his Dad ignore the BMX racing rules by which Matt abides. Matt's dream of making the Evergreen team is threatened but the resolution is appropriate and justified.

Skater's secret by Lisa Trumauer ISBN 978 1 406 21408 6.
Maggie and Shannon are sisters who love figure skating. Shannon would love to score over her sister. The plot is well developed for Shannon secretly finds the perfect music to skate to, only to find that Maggie has chosen it. The twists and turns of sibling rivalry are well explored to both sisters' satisfaction.

Ballet bullies by Emma Berne ISBN 978 1 406 21412 3.
Marissa loves ballet but her growth spurt is embarrassing her to the extent that she no longer wants to dance. She tries all sorts of subterfuges but finally the derisive laughs from Kelly and Alice are resolved and with her friend Rachel's uncompromising support, Marissa dances the Star Fairy role with joy and all the talent she has.

Horse-riding hopes by Diana Gallagher ISBN 9781406214093.
Molly desperately wants to learn to ride. Her best friend Kari encourages her when she sees 'Riding Lessons, Low prices'. Molly learns to ride, saves Gabrielle and her horse. Gabrielle and Lily rode 'sleek' horses making Mollie feel awkward and embarrassed. Mollie and Kari gain confidence and enjoy their new found recreation.

Tennis trouble by Chris Kreie ISBN: 9781406214109.
Alexis is thirteen and thrilled to make the under eighteens team for the first time. Olivia, Morgan and Rachel expected to make the team, but with the inclusion of Alexis Rachel this is a problem. As a much younger girl in the team, Alexis has many headaches, but with the support of Ellie and Miss Taylor the school coach, and eventually Olivia, Alexis is able to contribute to the team effort. Even Morgan acknowledges Alexis' position on the team.

Back on the beam by Eric Stevens ISBN: 978 1 40621 406 2.
Nadia is nervous about being back in competition after an ankle injury and her rival, Claire, makes comments that don't help

Storm surfer by Lisa Trumbauer ISBN: 978 1 40621 404 8.
Abby and Sarah think surfing in a storm will be amazing but who is to rescue them when the waves get too big?

Team spirit by Eric Stevens ISBN: 978 1 40621 403 1.
Will Anna, Bethany and Jasmine feel at home on their new girls' football team?
Sue Nosworthy

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