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In the tradition of Sports Shorts (2005), Darby Creek has another serving of sports-related short stories. Purely fiction, these stories tell the tales of athletes in a variety of sports, including track, football, martial arts, Ping Pong, and dirt bike riding. The characters face obstacles to overcome such things as being overweight, being over-confident, and being impatient. Reluctant readers will enjoy these short pieces, each with a memorable character and a relatable ...
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In the tradition of Sports Shorts (2005), Darby Creek has another serving of sports-related short stories. Purely fiction, these stories tell the tales of athletes in a variety of sports, including track, football, martial arts, Ping Pong, and dirt bike riding. The characters face obstacles to overcome such things as being overweight, being over-confident, and being impatient. Reluctant readers will enjoy these short pieces, each with a memorable character and a relatable problem.
Nine authors for children and young adults team up for this compilation of short stories whose focus is the spirit of the game. As with Sports Shorts (Darby Creek, 2005), which included contributions from several of the same authors, these accessible and engaging selections cover a wide range of sports, from basketball to surfing to BMX riding. The protagonists are not star players. Instead, they are the second- or third-stringers who love their particular sport so much that they are willing to be less than perfect. Readers will feel Joseph Bruchac's angst when the coach tells him that he's not cut out to play on his high school basketball team, as well as his sense of triumph when he sinks several shots in a row at home, taking the small victory as a sign that his grandfather will not succumb to poor health. David Lubar introduces Tyler, whose pursuit of the Ping-Pong championship trophy becomes so all-consuming that he learns an important lesson about the price of self-reliance. Whether the stories are based on the authors' own childhoods or not, these protagonists are engaging, and middle schoolers will find much to relate to in the reassuring reminders that perfection is highly overrated. A great way to introduce reluctant readers to some talented voices.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Posted September 16, 2008
We have all heard the old saying, 'It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.' Darby Creek Publishing says, 'It's whether you get out there and play the game!' In this sequel to Sport Shorts, nine contemporary authors provide short stories that depict the problems and difficulties all athletes must conquer in order to be successful in their sports. Joseph Bruchac and Terry Trueman both investigate basketball and perseverance. Lynea Bowdish tells about a girl who cannot climb a rope in gym class but finds out what she can do. David Lubar explores how one boy trained to be the next table tennis champion. CS Perryess looks at a BMX rider who isn't really sure that dirt-bike racing is a girl's sport. Dorian Cirrone discusses how a surfer overcame his boundaries and enjoyed the ride. Jamie McEwan talks about a boy's embarrassing incident during whitewater rafting. Max Eliot Anderson focuses on the new kid in school with an unusual ability who goes out for the football team. And Peggy Duffy describes one girl's challenges when she is caught between her traditional Korean upbringing and her American love of soccer. Any child who engages in sports should really like these stories. However, as they demonstrate (or seek to promote) good attitudes on the part of both those who play and those who watch, they can be beneficial for athletes and benchwarmers alike. Indeed, they will inspire and encourage all young people to let that athlete within have a try. Aimed primarily at middle-school-aged students, each of the stories has an special plot twist or surprise that will make them interesting reading for people of every age. The book is a Junior Library Guild Selection and certainly deserves the honor. Never much of a sports person myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and give it my hearty endorsement.
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Posted October 19, 2008
Sports stories are usually about success and failure! But those two terms are differently defined in this exciting, unusual collection that will spark the mind of all readers, whether you like sports or not! For these are real stories told about something in each experience that moves the hardest of head and/or hearts!<BR/><BR/>"Ignore the definitions and follow the impulse every inch of the way it leads," might be a most appropriate motto for each character in these terrific stories. You'll meet a guy who can't play basketball for beans until he has a larger vision of why he wants that ball to land in that swishing hoop! And maybe you'll enjoy the "large" girl who can't even come close to excelling in sports until she's fueled by one single, pulsing thought. Or maybe you'd like to meet a shy girl who finally starts being proud about being a BMX punk-girl after a visit from a very old friend. How easy can it be to impress a girl with one's kayaking skills when you lose a loosely strung piece of memorabilia?<BR/><BR/>Lay-Ups and Long Shots works so well because the stories are real living experiences that focus on the most proud, and yes even embarrassing, moments a teen can experience in this high end, glossy world that celebrates six-figure paid athletes but far too often ignores the spirit behind sports that makes real heroes and heroines, the kind who never make to the press. The authors convey the plot-driven tension, dreams and memories behind courageous, all to human men and women like you and me! <BR/><BR/>These are just some of the quickly readable stories that will propel you through these pages quicker than you can blink your eyes! And when you're done, you'll be able to say there's not one dud in the entire 112 pages. That's quite a feat for the collector and even more of a feat for the 9 authors whose tales will stick in your mind and heart for many, many days after you've turned the last satisfying page!<BR/><BR/>Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on October 19, 2008
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