The Basketball Bats

( 2 )

Overview

UNBEATABLE TEAM--MAYBE.  UNBEATABLE READING--FOR SURE!  The first novel in Betty Hick's Gym Shorts series is a slam-dunk for newly-independent readers.

Henry and his friends on Rockford Road are a basketball team unstoppable on their driveway court. But without team t-shirts or an official name can they take on The Tigers, a team that plays at the huge YWCA and has a player old enough to shave? Young readers will cheer as The Bats ...

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Basketball Bats

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Overview

UNBEATABLE TEAM--MAYBE.  UNBEATABLE READING--FOR SURE!  The first novel in Betty Hick's Gym Shorts series is a slam-dunk for newly-independent readers.

Henry and his friends on Rockford Road are a basketball team unstoppable on their driveway court. But without team t-shirts or an official name can they take on The Tigers, a team that plays at the huge YWCA and has a player old enough to shave? Young readers will cheer as The Bats take on a name and stick together to beat the odds.

Basketball Bats is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Kirkus Reviews

This first in a series of sports-oriented books uses basketball to explore such topics as sportsmanship and friendship. Henry and five friends, three boys and two girls, are challenged to a basketball game by a sketchy group of players calling themselves the Tigers. Turns out the Tigers cheat, but the newly dubbed Bats win anyway; their troubles with the Tigers don’t end there, however. In the second game Henry hogs the ball in an effort to compensate for the Tigers’ new player, Teen Boy, but the Bats’ loss makes him the goat. In the second book in the series, Goof-Off Goalie (ISBN: 978-1-59643-244-4), the same friends play team soccer and this time Henry’s friend Goose takes the fore. He thinks being goalie will be a cinch. Turns out it isn’t so easy—it takes practice and good friends. With McCauley’s expressive spot illustrations accompanying Hicks’s breezily simple text, this series will be a great stepping-stone for reluctant or new readers, easily introducing topical issues with its blend of humor and sports. A real score! (Fiction. 7-10)

Kirkus Reviews
This first in a series of sportsoriented books uses basketball to explore such topics as sportsmanship and friendship. Henry and five friends, three boys and two girls, are challenged to a basketball game by a sketchy group of players calling themselves the Tigers. Turns out the Tigers cheat, but the newly dubbed Bats win anyway; their troubles with the Tigers don't end there, however. In the second game Henry hogs the ball in an effort to compensate for the Tigers' new player, Teen Boy, but the Bats' loss makes him the goat. In the second book in the series, GoofOff Goalie (9781596432444), the same friends play team soccer and this time Henry's friend Goose takes the fore. He thinks being goalie will be a cinch. Turns out it isn't so easy-it takes practice and good friends. With McCauley's expressive spot illustrations accompanying Hicks's breezily simple text, this series will be a great steppingstone for reluctant or new readers, easily introducing topical issues with its blend of humor and sports. A real score! (Fiction. 710)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596432437
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Series: Gym Shorts Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 655,284
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 340L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.37 (w) x 7.58 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Betty Hicks, highly regarded for her novels for middle grade and older readers, turns her attention to children ready to begin reading real novels, in this first book in her Gym Shorts series of humorous sports stories, filled with friendship and action. Betty Hicks lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Adam McCauley is the illustrator of the successful middle-grade fiction series, Time Warp Trio by Jon Scieszka, as well as Louis Sachar’s Wayside School books. He lives in San Francisco, California.

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Read an Excerpt

1

Bug Juice

Henry felt lucky. He had four friends.

Exactly enough to make a basketball team.

To Henry, playing sports was better than triple-scoop ice cream. Better than the circus coming to town. Better than anything.

Henry dribbled the ball just inside the chalk line he’d drawn across his driveway. It marked the boundary of his backyard basketball court.

He did a spin move and drove for the basket. A layup is too easy, thought Henry. Instead, he pulled up short. He aimed and threw up a mid-range jump shot. Swish!

“I could squash you like a bug,” snarled a gruff voice.

“Huh?” Henry stared at the boy at the top of his driveway. He had spiky hair. His body slouched to one side.

“Me and my friends,” said Tough Guy. “The Tigers. We can beat anybody.”

“Yeah?” said Henry. “Well, I’ve got friends that are good, too.”

“I doubt it,” sneered Tough Guy.

I’d like to squash him like a bug, thought Henry.

But he didn’t say it out loud. Instead, he said, “We challenge you. Tomorrow. Right here—three o’clock.”

“Your funeral,” said Tough Guy.

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Reading Group Guide

Themes Book Groups

One of the best ways to explore the themes of a books—the author’s "messages"—and to enjoy a book is to discuss it with others who have read the book. Organize a weekly GYM SHORTS book group in your classroom. Any student can participate, as long as they’ve read at least one of the books in the series.

Provide the group with a list of possible discussion questions, and allow one of the students to lead the discussion. We’ve prepared this list of discussion topics so that the week’s discussion leader can select those she or he wants to discuss and use them as is.

1. Cooperation or team-work (since the books are sports centered) is a major theme of the novels. Introduce the subject of cooperation by citing an example of how the kids in the books cooperate. A good place to start is to identify the goal in one of the books. Then ask: What did the kids do together to reach the goal? Have any of your classmates read other books, seen any movies or television shows, or heard a real-life story about how cooperation helped achieve a purpose? Can any of them talk about a personal experience with cooperation that made a job easier to accomplish?

2. Competition is another theme in the GYM SHORTS books. Betty Hicks tells us how she feels about this subject: "Win or lose, I think competition should be fun, fair, and exciting. It helps young people learn how to be part of a team and how to handle victory as well as defeat—all things which come in handy in many areas besides sports." With this in mind, talk about competition and winning. How do you and your classmates feel about it in the sports you play yourselves? How about the sports you watch? Are you true to your teams whether they are on a winning streak or losing?

3. Another theme in the books is that success/winning is never guaranteed, but it’s a sure thing that you can’t succeed unless you work hard and try. Which characters learn this lesson in which books? Have your classmates ever tried really hard, but still didn’t succeed to the level they hoped? Talk about the way the characters in the book feel and react to this? How did the kids in your class react to this in their own lives?

4. Another important theme in the GYM SHORTS titles is being true to yourself. Friends are important—in your life and your classmates’ lives, and in the lives of the characters in the books. But it is even more important for each person to understand who he or she is, and to be the best person possible. Certainly, Rita learns this lesson in Swimming with Sharks. Sometimes you can’t just fit in with everyone else—but that doesn’t mean you all can’t be friends. What experiences have your classmates had that showed them the truth of this lesson?

5. Friendship is the most important theme of all in the GYM SHORTS books. Talk about the kinds of friends your classmates have and the kind of friend each of them is. Kids often say, "I’ll do anything for my best friend." Do your classmates agree? Would you lie for your best friend? What are the most important qualities of a friend?

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Customer Reviews

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