Lay ups and Long Shots: Eight Short Stories


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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Lay-ups and Long Shots: Eight Short Stories

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Jay Wise
Do not let the title of this sports story collection fool you. Although nber-popular events such as basketball and soccer receive their due, this anthology of middle-grade shorts offers laugh-out-loud moments from lesser-known athletic contests as well. Who knew ping-pong or kayaking could tug so forcefully on players' heartstrings? In SWISH: A Basketball Story, Bruchac gives a hilarious first-person account of his attempt to make his high school basketball team after barely beating his septuagenarian grandfather at HORSE. Carla Anders, the main character in Lynea Bowditch's Fat Girls (Can't) Don't Run, narrates the anguish larger teens endure in gym class. It is difficult not to be noticed when one cannot move up the climbing rope-at all. Other stories describe a young man's quest to win his first trophy by entering the dangerous (and possibly life-threatening) world of competitive table tennis; the importance of proper clothing on a co-ed kayaking adventure; and the ups and downs of girls doing "guy stuff" like trying to compete in BMX. Each of these nine stories, written by accomplished authors including Dorian Cirrone, David Lubar, and Terry Trueman, displays a wicked sense of humor, shining the spotlight on the less athletic, mediocre players whose love of sport far outweighs their talent for the game. Middle schoolers will see themselves in an eclectic group of sarcastic, hopeful, angsty, self-deprecating yet determined characters. Ideal for booktalks or as a read aloud, this solid choice for reluctant readers will require some pushing to ensure long-term popularity. Reviewer: Jay Wise
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
This book is a delightful anthology of short sports stories about kids trying to achieve their goals and growing along the way. Joseph Bruchac's "Swish" is about trying to be a basketball player, but the high school coach says Bruchac is a hazard to the team. He ends up being a star wrestler. Lynea Bowdish's "Fat Girls (Can't) Don't Run" is about a fat girl who is awful at all athletic endeavors until she discovers running. David Lubar in "Bounce-Back" tells us of Tyler who wants to win the Table Tennis trophy but does not have anybody to practice with except his would be opponent. He practices by himself, but in the end discovers he has not learned how to play against another person. Terry Trueman's poem "H.O.R.S.E." has the usually losing speaker winning a game of HORSE against his friend Brad—the usual winner. A moment of supreme triumph! In "Amazing Dirt Girl Rides Again," CS Perryless' Amanda learns what true friendship is. The fourteen-year-old protagonist in Dorian Cirrone's "Riding the Wave" learns perfection is not the goal; instead it is the trying. Ted learns the hard way that showing off is not always a good idea, especially if your shorts get swept off in white water in Jamie McEwan's "Red Shorts, White Water." Max Elliot Anderson shows us even a deformity can be of use in "Big Foot," where Jeff Spencer shows his outsized right foot can kick a football farther than anybody else. Peggy Duffy's "Song of Hope" tells us of a Korean-American girl trying to juggle her love and allegiance for her non-English speaking mother and her desire to play soccer. Rich stories. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781581960785
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David Lubar
David Lubar, Joseph Bruchac, Lynea Bowdish, Peggy Duffy, Terry Trueman, M.E. Anderson, Jamie McEwan, CS Perryess, Dorian Cirrone
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2008

    great sports related stories

    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

    more from this reviewer

    Inspire the Athlete Within!

    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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