In this winning addition to the easy-to-read bestselling series, Hank has to hustle to prove he can be his basketball team’s secret weapon!
For two years running, Hank's school has beaten their arch rivals at the annual second grade basketball game. When his friends try out, Hank is determined to play, too. There's just one problem: Hank is terrible at basketball. Luckily Dr. Dunk (AKA Hank's dad) and Hank's friends have his back. With a little help, Hank just might be what the team needs to win their first three-peat in PS 87 history!
This bestselling series written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver is perfect for the transitional reader. With a unique, easy-to-read font, endless humor, and characters every kid would want to be friends with, any story with Hank is a slam dunk!
About the Author
Henry Winkler is an actor, producer, and director, and he speaks publicly all over the world. In addition, he has a star on Hollywood Boulevard, was presented with the Order of the British Empire by the Queen of England, and the jacket he wore as the Fonz hangs in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. But if you ask him what he is proudest of, he would say, "Writing the Hank Zipzer books with my partner, Lin Oliver." He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Stacey. They have three children named Jed, Zoe, and Max.
Lin Oliver is a writer and producer of movies, books, and television series for children and families. She has written more than twenty-five novels for children, and one hundred episodes of television. She is cofounder and executive director of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, an international organization of twenty thousand authors and illustrators of children's books.
Read an Excerpt
“I have a great idea,” I said to my best friends, Frankie Townsend and Ashley Wong. “After school today, let’s put on a worm race. Not just any worm race. The First-Ever Hank Zipzer Uphill Worm Sprint.”
It was Taco Tuesday, and we were in our school lunchroom eating—you guessed it—tacos. I like mine with no onions.
“Two problems,” Frankie said, his mouth full of cheese and beans. “Number one: Worms are slow and slimy.”
“Yeah,” Ashley agreed. “It’s so gross when they leave that icky slime trail.”
“No, slime is good,” I said. “The trail will give us proof of which worm crosses the finish line first.”
“Okay, Zip, I’ll give you that,” Frankie said. “But we still have problem number two. Where are we going to find these speedy worms?”
“I’ve got that solved,” I said. “I saw three of them sticking their heads out of the dirt in the planter in front of our building this morning. They were practically begging me to let them race. I bet they’ll be there after school.”
Ashley and Frankie gave each other a weird look.
“Actually, Hank,” Ashley said slowly. “Frankie and I are busy after school today.”
“Busy doing what? The three of us always do an after-school activity together.”
“Listen, Zip,” Frankie said, putting his hot-sauce-covered hand on my shoulder. “Ashley and I have been asked to be on the second-grade basketball team. The one that’s going to play PS 91 in our yearly game.”
That totally took me by surprise.
“Really?” I said. “How come I didn’t hear about this?”
Ashley pushed her sparkly purple glasses up on her nose.
“Well,” she said, “they only asked the kids who are really good at basketball in gym class. Anyone else who wants to be on the team can come to tryouts. There are still some open spots.”
I was quiet as her words bounced around in my brain like a Ping-Pong ball. Frankie knew what I was thinking.
“Hey, don’t feel bad, Zip,” he said. “They only asked certain kids because this is a really important game. Our school has beaten PS 91 two years in a row. If we win this year, it will be a three-peat. The first three-peat ever in the whole history of PS 87!”
“But I want to play, too,” I said. “It says right on my report card that I play well with others.”
“You sure do, Zip. But you have to admit, you’re not that great at basketball.”
“What exactly are you saying, Frankie? That I’m short?”
“No, that’s not it,” Frankie said. “Look at Ashley. She’s short and she’s on the team.”
Ouch, that hurt.
“I’m not short,” Ashley said. “I like to think of myself as vertically challenged.”
“Me too,” I said. “I’m going to ask the coach if I can try out.”
“Why not?” Ashley said. “It never hurts to try. If you don’t, you’ll never know.”
“Okay, I’m going to do it. By the way, who is the coach?”
“Ms. Adolf,” Ashley said, “the fourth-grade teacher.”
I felt my throat tighten up, then the rest of my body followed.
“You mean the one who looks like she swallowed a lemon?” I squeaked.
“Yup,” Frankie answered. “Old sourpuss herself.”
That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. It was hard enough to ask to be on a team that nobody wanted you on. But now I was going to have to ask the meanest teacher on the whole planet Earth. Just looking at Ms. Adolf scared me down to my bones. Her hair was gray. Her clothes were gray. Her face was gray. Even her breath was gray.
“Hey, look,” Ashley said, pointing across the room. “Ms. Adolf is on lunch patrol. She’s standing over there by the desserts, making sure no one takes one.”
“Go talk to her now, Zip,” Frankie said, giving me a push. “Tell her you want to be on the team.”
I got to my feet, walked over to Ms. Adolf, and gave her my best Zipzer smile. She did not smile back.
“Don’t even think about taking one of these desserts,” she barked at me. “It will rot your teeth and ruin your brain.”
“Actually, Ms. Adolf, I’m here to talk basketball. I’d like to try out for the second-grade team that you’re coaching.”
She pulled her gray glasses down on her gray nose and stared at me like I was a flea that just fell off a dog.
“Can you shoot?” she asked.
“Can you rebound?”
“Can you jump high?”
“Can you dribble?”
“Only from my mouth,” I said. Then I cracked up. But not Ms. Adolf. She just sighed heavily.
“There will be an open tryout this afternoon at three, in the gym,” she said. “I’ve already selected four players for the team. But I can add five more to round out the roster. You can come then, but don’t get your hopes up.”
“Great, I’ll be there,” I said. “You’ll see. I’m going to surprise you.”
As I walked away, I felt pretty good, and my hopes were up . . . until I suddenly realized that I had nothing to surprise her with. Not one thing.
I had to come up with something. And fast.
Four Ways I Could Surprise Ms. Adolf at Basketball Tryouts
by Hank Zipzer
1. I could arrive in a full bunny suit with ears and a fluffy cottontail. (This has nothing to do with basketball, but boy, would that surprise Ms. Adolf.)
2. I could buy two tiny ladders and tie them to the bottom of my feet to make myself taller. (That would surprise everyone, including me, because there’s no such thing as a tiny-ladder store.)
3. I could make ten slam dunks in a row. (Not only would that surprise Ms. Adolf, it would surprise the entire solar system, including everybody on Neptune.)
4. There is no number four. Sorry, I’m not good at counting.