Saturday, March 12, 2016

Bildner, Phil. A Whole New Ballgame.

Bildner, Phil.  A Whole New Ballgame.     Macmillan/Farrar Strauss      2015  243p  $15.99  ISBN 978-0-374-30130-9      elem/ms     Realistic Fiction  E-BN  

If someone was looking for the absolutely all-inclusive book for grades 4-5, this is it.  The new teacher is completely unconventional.  The students represent multiple nationalities and races.  One has autism and one is in a wheelchair.  But it all works.  Throw in basketball practices and games, and interfering parents, and that sums up this title.
The banter among the students sounds true.  Their interests and reactions are completely real.  The unconventional teacher is a bit way out there, but he is effective.  The basketball lingo is sometimes beyond this reviewer, but the boys who are into basketball will gobble it up.  The students learn how to accept differences and work with them, and they score very well on standardized tests due to the enthusiasm and interest the teacher had instilled in them.  It is great to see innovative, creative teaching validated.
Boys who are into basketball in grades 4-6 will love this book.  

Summary: A unconventional teaching style, basketball, autism, and life in a wheelchair: it’s all in this title written for boys in grade 4-5.           

Basketball-Fiction, School-Fiction, Autism-Fiction          --Joan Theal

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