Toby Wheeler: Eighth Grade Benchwarmer

Overview

When Toby Wheeler has a chance to join the junior high basketball team, he’s eager to prove he can keep up with his best friend, JJ. But practice doesn’t go quite as Toby has planned, and when the coach announces the lineup, Toby’s hopes of playing ball with JJ are history: he’s an eighth-grade benchwarmer!
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Toby Wheeler: Eighth Grade Benchwarmer

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Overview

When Toby Wheeler has a chance to join the junior high basketball team, he’s eager to prove he can keep up with his best friend, JJ. But practice doesn’t go quite as Toby has planned, and when the coach announces the lineup, Toby’s hopes of playing ball with JJ are history: he’s an eighth-grade benchwarmer!
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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

“Engaging . . . will appeal to readers who are looking for something one step beyond Matt Christopher books.”
—School Library Journal

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: 9780440421832
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/11/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 524,652
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Thatcher Heldring lives with his wife and son in Seattle, Washington, a good place for indoor sports. Visit him online at www.thatchertheauthor.com.
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 25, 2012

    The book is about Toby Wheeler who is a gym rat at a local rec c

    The book is about Toby Wheeler who is a gym rat at a local rec center. His friend JJ is on the school basketball team. One day Toby and JJ are playing a Basketball game, and a man that Toby has never seen before observes the game with JJ's dad. After the game, the man approaches Toby. The man turns out to be the new basketball coach and asks Toby to join the school's basketball team. Toby at first doesn't want to join the team, but is convinced to join. His first practice doesn't go very well. For the first few games Toby has to sit on the bench and watch the games. When coach final puts Toby in a game, Toby screws up and he is taken out. Then Toby starts to improve in practice and is put into games more often. For the final championship game Toby gets to play the final minutes of the game and has a large impact on the final result of it.

    I did like the main plot of the book but it was too predictable. The main character starts as a bench warmer then a the end of the book he turns into a valuable player. If some one wants to get organized as much as Toby did in a sport. It would take a lot more practice.

    I recommend this book to anyone in 6-8 grade. It is a fast read and is very interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Hate It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The worst!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 30, 2011

    Story for Basketball

    Toby Wheeler Eighth Grade Bench Warmer is a wonderful book. This book was very different than the others because it would have strong details that made you want to keep reading and then it would fade and add something it that you normally wouldn¿t understand. In my opinion this book was a really good book and fun to read if you like basketball or type of physical sports. The authors purpose in this story is teach you that you can¿t be the best at something when you first try it and want to be good you have to keep working at it and it¿ll get easier and you¿ll get much better at it.
    This book is about a kid named Toby Wheeler who plays in gyms for pickup games for fun with is best friend JJ. Well JJ plays school ball and doesn¿t have time to hang with Toby anymore. So Toby decides to give up playing in the gyms and go play real competitive basketball. Also he¿s going to show that all ¿gym rats¿ can play with high completion and be good. Toby automatically was thinking ahead and thought that he would start and play with JJ. The only problem was JJ wasn¿t as good as he thought he was and ended up being on the bench as the worst player on the team and to him the worst player in the world. So Toby has to prove himself in order to play with JJ and make the friendship with JJ stronger. All in all if you read this you will find a heartwarming and funny book about how a bench warmer feels and with Toby as the narrator this book will you will understand and feel what he had to go through. Compared to all the other sports books I¿ve read this one would probably have to be the best one I¿ve ever read so far.
    The author¿s style in this book is very different from other books because the way he makes you feel when you read it. The way it makes you feel is like your trapped in the book and you don¿t want to put it down because you¿re sunken into the story and you can¿t get out of it. All the characters in this story have the same purpose to try to win the championship or a basketball game. If you haven¿t read this story and you like sports you are missing out deeply because this story will change the way you look at sports and your life. The author of this book is Thatcher Heldring who lives in Seattle and with his wife and son. He and his family are all interested in sports such as indoor ones like basketball, indoor soccer and football. Also in his teenage and high school days he played sports. This explains why he is writing sports books because he lives around them.
    So in this story Thatcher Heldring is basically probably writing about his past experiences and what he has seen. This story was a very good story in which sports lovers will find interesting because of the way it can make you think of your old past memories when you first started playing sports. When Thatcher wrote this he must have had a good month because this book is amazing.
    This book should only be read by sports lovers and people who understand the game of basketball. I can say that this story will make you look for more books from this author because of his writing style. All in all I think this is probably the best story about a sport that I have ever read so far in all the books I¿ve read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 19, 2010

    Very good

    This book is a great book. It is perfect for any sports lover. It has everything that has to do with basketball. It also teaches a lesson about giving 100 percent. You could tell that the author really put a lot of thought into this book. I really felt like I was in a basketball game while I was reading the book. That's how much I was into the book. Also I learned a little bit from the book. It teaches you that everybody on a basketball team is important no matter what their role is. There was a quote that said it takes everybody on the team and win. Even if you aren't a very good player every point you score helps the team. That told me that if youre the best player people are going to depend on you but you also need help from your teammates to win.

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  • Posted November 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for TeensReadToo.com

    Life is simple. Toby Wheeler is just a gym rat playing pickup ball at the rec center with his best buddy JJ. But, things seem different lately. JJ is spending more and more time with his new friends instead of Toby. <BR/><BR/>Determined to hang onto his buddy, Toby joins the school's basketball team at the encouragement of the new coach. Maybe this way, he'll get to see more of JJ, since he's a basketball star. But, it seems like the only person Toby is seeing more of is the coach's daughter, Megan. <BR/><BR/>Other players on the team are encouraging Toby to stay away from Coach's daughter if he wants to be anything but a benchwarmer. This seems like good advice, except that Megan is the only girl he can talk to without turning into a clumsy, awkward fool. <BR/><BR/>This debut novel will definitely score with its readers, as Toby is just the kind of clueless but lovable character that middle-schoolers are sure to identify with. He navigates everything from losing friends and figuring out how to deal with girls to relearning things he thought he already knew. <BR/><BR/>Basketball fans will get their fair share of trash talk when Toby faces off against his rival, Vinny Pesto, on the court and off. Toby may be clueless in some areas, but when the clock runs down, he knows it's time to take a shot. <BR/><BR/>Heldring's style is easy and fun to read. I look forward to more books by this fabulous new author!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2007

    A reviewer

    this book is truely a great book, especially if you play sports and don't get all the playing time you think you deserve. whats great about this book is that anyone can relate, you dont have to be just a sports fan. i'd tell you more about the book but you're just going to have to read it for yourself :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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