________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 37 . . . . May 27, 2011


Nothing But Net. (Sports Stories).

Michael Coldwell.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2011.
153 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-55277-682-7.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Laura Dick.

**½ /4



With Chip in the backcourt handling the ball, the Grizzly Bears got off to a great start. Every pass was razor-sharp and everyone was in sync on the floor. Especially after sitting out the entire first half, Chip was fully energized and running circles around any Wildcat who tried to stop him.

In the first six minutes, the Bears had gnawed into the Wildcat lead and were only down by eight.

"Let's go, guys!" shouted Chip, catching a long Wildcat rebound and streaking down the court. "Let's push it. Let's run these losers into the ground."

Chip took one step over the half-court line and was met by Chad frantically trying to get into defensive position. Chip was having none of it, spinning off of the Academy guard and cutting to the centre of the floor.

Originally published in 1997, Nothing But Net follows the story of the Cape Breton Grizzly Bears, a down on their luck high school basketball team.

Despite the fact that they haven't won a single game all year, the Grizzly Bears are invited to a tournament in Halifax. The Bears are more interested in playing practical jokes on each other than they are in practising. They are led by their head prankster, Chip Carson, a talented player who would much rather play jokes on his teammate, Langdon Strong, whom everyone despises, than focus on his game. Their coach, Coach Kenny, knows next to nothing about basketball and motivating his team. He is more comfortable goofing around with the team, not coaching them.

      When the team arrives in Halifax, things start in a typical manner the Bears are the laughing stock of the whole tournament. But slowly, the team begins to change, and soon things are looking up for them. They actually win a game or two. Working together as a team, is it possible for the Bears to actually win the tournament?

      Nothing But Net will primarily appeal to basketball fans. There are plenty of well described game scenes and lots insights into basketball strategy. This is a team whose members like to tease and prank each other, and the humourous tone of the writing nicely mirrors that. With numerous secondary stories and characters woven throughout the book, however, the main action gets a little muddled. It is a challenge to keep all of the players and their backstories clear. Despite this, Nothing But Net is recommended for readers in grades 5-7 who are interested in sports, especially basketball, and who don't want to tackle anything too complicated.


Laura Dick, who is trying to raise four teenagers while attempting to maintain her sanity, escapes to work as a librarian at a large public library in Southwestern Ontario.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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