Two plays in graphic novel form teach problem-solving kills through role playing. In the first play, Joe lacks confidence in himself. He sees himself as only average. In school he makes Cs. But one day the gym class played a game called Punt Bowl. The football coach invited Joe to come out for football practice. Joe discovers a hidden talent, a "magic foot." Joe's old friends want him to continue to practice with the band in Chelsea's garage. Which will it be? Sports or music? Joe likes the new feeling of being good at something for once. In the second play about fitting in, Rachel longs to enter a dance competition, but her father is opposed. He thinks her schoolwork will suffer and really doesn't approve of "show business stuff." When her brother, Aaron, offers to sign the permission form, she enters and determines to show her talent. She tells Aaron she thought it would be fun. As she tries to overcome her guilt for going against her father, she tries to analyze what her motives are. Amy has been coaching Olivia and figures out a scheme to assure that Olivia beats Rachel. Gourlay also includes discussion questions, a glossary, and suggestions for writing. Reviewer: JoAn Watson Martin
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6–In this interactive approach to solving problems, titles feature two short plays with approximately 10 speaking parts, including a few narrators. Speech bubbles appear on the full-page, comic-book-style illustrations opposite the dialogue, adding context for more visual learners. Discussion questions expand the presentation, making these read-alouds most suited for small groups, such as those in peer-counseling sessions. An end page suggests activities such as making Web quests, holding interviews, and journaling. This is an optional addition for general collections because it will be of limited use.