Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ransome, James E. Gunner, Football Hero

Ransome, James E. Gunner, Football Hero
Holiday House 2010 unp 16.95
978-0-8234-2053-7 elm/ms

Gunner lives his dream as quarterback & man o/t hour VG-BNe Football “wannabee“, Gunner, tries to save the day for his football team, but throws an interception instead, and his team loses. However, he shows the town and his classmates what dedication and practice can do for a misfit like himself.
The teacher and/or parent has the chance to teach selflessness by reading this book to children of all ages. First, Gunner isn’t the picture perfect football player. He is round and out of shape. Next, he doesn’t inspire confidence, and, although he makes the team, he is assigned to the third team. Finally, will he ever get to play? Fate steps in, and injured first and second string quarterbacks have to leave the game. Gunner will have his day. In a nail-biter of a football game, he brings his team back to a tie, and goes for the win. It wasn’t meant to be, however. A player from the Woodland Bobcats intercepts the ball and runs for the touchdown! The Malden Tigers lose the game, but they are appreciative of Gunner’s good effort, and everyone celebrates. The surprise ending is sure to bring up questions in every classroom and in every household. Did Gunner know that the interceptor of his last pass was a girl? Gunner’s parents smile as they read the newspaper the next day, and it is left to the reader to decide. Author James Ransome had Gunner lose to teach children that success does not always depend on winning. This is a wonderful message for all children! Colorful and creative artwork show the author to be equally talented both as a writer and an illustrator. The pictures practically tell the story! The plot moves forward quickly for a younger reader, and the surprise ending is sublime.
Realistic Fiction Squaresky, Martha

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