Baseball spring training games are almost over and teams are readying their stadiums for their opening games. Golf clubs are ready for league play, if only it would stop raining or snowing. In southern states, people are sailing and doing other sports outside. So, I thought I’d review a couple of sports books to get us in the spirit of spring.
I never played much volleyball as a child, but I enjoy the game. And I love stories that emphasize believing in one’s self. If you add in teaching sports skills, any sport book has plenty to intrigue young readers.
Back Row Dynamo
Jake Maddox and Leigh McDonald
Ellie loves playing volleyball and she believes she’s good at it. So, she’s super excited that the season is about to start, sure that she will make the team. But when she makes mistakes, she begins to doubt her ability. Her friends and coach encourage her, saying that everybody messes up. She and her best friend, Isabella, walk by the community’s park and see some younger girls trying to play volleyball with a rope tied between two posts on an old sand-lot court. They’re using a soccer ball, instead of a volleyball. Ellie and Isabella go over to see what they’re doing and discover the girls’ volunteer coach quit. Ellie and Isabella offer to help teach the younger girls a few drills for practice. Later they talk to their coach who agrees that it would be good practice for the whole team to coach younger girls. Through this experience Ellie learns more about playing the game herself. The story is not told in an exciting manner, but the basic message of believing in oneself and striving to improve is a good one. The lesson is easily transmitted to other parts of one’s life. The book is part of the Jake Maddox series of sports-themed books published by Capstone.
BIBLIO: 2018, Jake Maddox JV Girls/Stone Arch Books/Capstone, Ages 8 to 12, $25.99.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
When I was a girl, I lived in Maryland, one of the few states that had soccer as part of its sports program. I loved playing the game, even though I wasn’t very good. But girls’ version of the game was different than boys’. We were considered too weak to play as strongly as the boys. Poppycock!
Part of the Bumba books—Sports Time, this book gives a brief overview of the game of soccer for young children. The photos are inspiring, with plenty of shots of children concentrating on joyfully playing soccer. There are explanations of what the game is about and who is allowed to touch the ball with her hands during a game. Interspersed throughout the book are several “critical thinking” questions, such as why players pass the ball and why the goalie can use his hands. A picture glossary gives clear images and definitions of various soccer terms. And both boys and girls are shown playing the game, with much enthusiasm. Be sure to look closely at the pictures of the children concentrating on kicking the ball. One girl has her right thumb and forefinger loosely forming a circle while her mouth is pursed in concentration. One little boy is gleefully concentrating on running.
BIBLIO: 2017, Bumba Books/Lerner Publishing Group, Ages 4 to 8, $25.32.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Picture Book
Here’s hoping nice weather comes soon and it only rains when we don’t want to be outside.