Toby Wheeler: Eighth-Grade Benchwarmer

Toby Wheeler: Eighth-Grade Benchwarmer

by Thatcher Heldring
     
 

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TOBY WHEELER LOVES basketball and playing pickup games at the local rec center. No coaches, no practices, just nonstop action with his best friend, JJ, at his side. But lately JJ's been acting like he's too busy for Toby, and Toby knows it will only get worse once basketball season begins at their junior high. That's because JJ is the star of their school team, while…  See more details below

Overview

TOBY WHEELER LOVES basketball and playing pickup games at the local rec center. No coaches, no practices, just nonstop action with his best friend, JJ, at his side. But lately JJ's been acting like he's too busy for Toby, and Toby knows it will only get worse once basketball season begins at their junior high. That's because JJ is the star of their school team, while Toby is just an ordinary gym rat.

When Coach Applewhite offers Toby a chance to join the team, Toby's eager to prove he can keep up with JJ. But then the coach announces the lineup, and Toby's hopes of playing ball with JJ are history: he's an eighthgrade benchwarmer! Befriending the coach's daughter only makes matters worse. Now the only way Toby will get in the game is if he starts thinking like a team player, on and off the court.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A truly great basketball story. Every hoops fan will love this book.”–Phil Jackson, member of the NBA Hall of Fame and head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers
Children's Literature
Here is a fun book worth reading. Think of it as a more complex, less formulaic, Matt Christopher for the older middle school sports-mad set. This book is perfect, too, for the middle school girl who finds herself in a relationship with a basketball nerd, but does not know anything about the game herself. The story will give her not only a flavor for the game, but some insights into �boy� dynamics. The same can be said for parents who may feel clueless about their sports-mad youngster. This book has the added advantage of showing said parents that boys this age can feel left out. Some educators may feel that this book is predictable, but the average middle school reader will not find that to be a problem. In fact, this is a good book to give to reluctant, sports-minded readers. Toby, Megan, and JJ could be recurring characters in future books by the same author. Reviewer: Mary Ashcliffe
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7
Toby Wheeler is a self-professed gym rat-he plays basketball down at the rec center but has never played for his school. However, when he meets the new coach, Toby decides to try for the team. He becomes the 12th man-the last one ever sent in to a game-and resigns himself to being a benchwarmer. However, through Coach Applewhite's tutoring and the help of the other boys, Toby learns to be a real team player. A subplot concerns Toby's dad, who works for the local lumber company, and his mother, an ecological activist protesting the lumber company's practices. Overall, the story is engaging, but too predictable and lacking in depth. Standard sports themes dominate-the underdog team wins the championship in the final shot; the team's star realizes he has to play for himself, not to appease his father; and the new coach learns to trust his players. This novel will appeal to readers who are looking for something one step beyond Matt Christopher's books.
—Diana PierceCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385733908
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
08/14/2007
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.77(w) x 8.58(h) x 0.82(d)
Lexile:
680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Thatcher Heldring has had several jobs in book publishing. He has also worked as a small forward, a goalie, a scorekeeper, a coach, a rabid fan, and a benchwarmer. He and his wife, Staci, live in Seattle, a good place for indoor sports.

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