The star of Willy the Scrub and his gang of athletically challenged friends are back to try their hand at a new sport, this time joined by Clara, a top athlete, in Whitewater Scrubs by Jamie McEwan, illus. by John Margeson. But when the group signs up for an after-school kayaking club, it's Clara who gets cold feet. The author, a whitewater slalom racer and an Olympic Medalist, captures some of the heart-pounding aspects of the sport and some insiders' lingo. Margeson's cartoon vignettes add a humorous touch. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going, or do they? Clara, the protagonist, has to find out if she can keep going when she faces some whitewater challenges. But she is not the only one feeling that way. The fun plot focuses on Clara, Willy, Dan, and Rufus as they learn to kayak—their alternative to going out for a school sport. The difficult part for Clara is that she has always been good at what she tries and now she may look like a scrub, too. Hard work, the idea of not giving up, cooperation, respect, and truth are the themes of the plot. They are not pointed out in a didactic way. Rather, they come across in subtle ways which allow the characters and the readers to learn from what is happening. The simple vocabulary and phrasing—along with short sentences and chapters—makes reading this chapter book a successful experience. Silly illustrations add to the entertainment by depicting Clara and her friends in a comical way. 2005, Darby Creek, Ages 7 to 10.
—Nancy Garhan Attebury
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Clara, a top athlete, "was sure that anything Willy could do, she could do better. Right?" Not when faced with the challenging and unfamiliar sport of kayaking. Her pals, "the Scrubs," convince her to try it, and she discovers that she is terrified of the rapids. Her conflicts are true to her character. She does not want to be a quitter or participate in a sport in which she cannot excel, but her biggest worry is exposing her fear. Plucky Clara resolves her problem while rescuing Willy from his tipping kayak. Reluctant and transitional readers interested in sports will enjoy this story. Large type, double spacing, and small cartoons at the beginning of each chapter add accessibility and encouragement for beginning chapter-book readers. A humorous sequel to Willy the Scrub (Darby Creek, 2004), this story stands on its own. The topic also offers a fresh kind of sports story.-Jennifer Cogan, Bucks County Free Library, Doylestown, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.