Book Reviews - Sports Camp & The Ball Hogs by Rich Wallace

Thursday August 19, 2010

Sports Camp
by Rich Wallace
Knopf Books for Young Readers
April 2010
Goodreads Summary: Riley feels like the smallest kid at sports camp. In fact, he is. He just turned eleven in April, but most kids here are twelve, and a few are even thirteen—and gigantic. It’s hard enough for a shrimp like Riley to fit in. He just doesn’t want to be the weak link as his bunk competes for the Camp Olympia Trophy.

Riley knows he’s no good at strength and accuracy games like basketball and softball. But when it comes to speed and endurance events, like running and swimming, he’s better than he looks. He’s pretty sure he can place in the top ten—and bring in major trophy points—in the final mile-long swim race across Lake Surprise. But he doesn’t count on being followed by the shadow of Big Joe, the giant vicious snapping turtle of camp lore. Wasn’t that supposed to be a legend?

Review: Sports camp like any other camp has all the usual "campy" elements....mosquitoes, cabins, a mess hall with questionable food, practical jokes, a bully and of course the obligatory scary stories. The scariest of all? An evil foot-chomping snapping turtle called Big Joe.

Chock full of sporty competitive moments where the underdog is doing his best to win. I like the realism though in that Riley has his share of wins and losses but keeps his determination. This is a great book for kid who likes to read about sports and the build up to the big game or final showdown. The story is well paced and has enough sporty suspense to keep readers wanting more. Best suited for grades 3 to 7.
The Ball Hogs (Kickers Book 1)
by Rich Wallace
Illustrated by Jimmy Holder
Knopf Books for Young Readers
June 8, 2010
Goodreads Summary: Nine-year-old Ben is brand-new to soccer, but he's a good athlete and knows he'll do well on the Bobcats, his team in the local Kickers soccer league. If he can only work around his obnoxious teammate Mark, the ball hog, Ben is sure he'll score his first goal. But Coach Patty, and Ben's own teammates, show him a little something about teamwork. And suddenly it dawns on him: he's a ball hog, too. Can he change his ways before the Bobcats lose their shot at the Kickers play-offs?

Award-winning sports novelist Rich Wallace introduces the Kickers soccer series, filled with lively black-and-white art and fast-paced, on-the-field action.

Review: The first book in a new series (there will be four books in all) by the author aimed at millions of elementary kids out there who love the sport of soccer. 

As you may have guessed the story centers around a few kids on the coed team, the Bobcats (Ben and Mark) who tend to be ball hogs. When the team starts getting frustrated after a few losses they begin to realize that working together will give them a better chance of winning and along the way Ben learns a few lessons about teamwork and fair play. The end of the book even has a few tips from Ben for new soccer players. A great selection for elementary soccer fans!