Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hand-Off by Michael Teitelbaum, illustrated by Ron Zalme

The plot of this story is extremely thin; all-around excellent athlete Pablo decides to try his hand at flag football. He does ok the first day, skims some plays that night, then fails miserably in the game the next day. And the next day. And so on. He religiously studies the playbook, practises constantly, and when the quarterback gets a sprained wrist stands in and wins the game.

The above-described plot takes up about as much space as the actual text of the plot in the story. What really makes up this book is a detailed description of the plays, how to play them, where everybody goes, and what they do.

The book is apparently based on a sports video game and the illustrations look like renderings of animated characters. Some illustrations of the various plays would help readers who have trouble visualizing all the different moves.

Verdict: This isn't really a story so much as a sports manual with a little plot thrown in for fun. The descriptions and explanations are clear and simple, so even a beginner can figure out what's happening. This book won't have much general appeal, but kids who are serious about sports - or interested in starting - will enjoy it.

ISBN: 978-0448449005; Published October 2008 by Grosset and Dunlap; Borrowed from the library

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