________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 10. . . .November 9, 2012


Jump Ball. (Sports Stories).

Adrienne Mercer.
Toronto, ON; James Lorimer, 2012.
126 pp., pbk., hc. & Ebook, $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.), $8.95 (Ebook).
ISBN 978-1-4594-0179-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4594-0180-8 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-4594-0181-5 (Ebook).
Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Amber Allen.

** /4



...Abby kind of liked the thought of being the only sister on the team. At the same time, she didn't want her sister to be upset. It would be better if they both made it.

When Sarah saw the roster, she let out a giant whoop and raced through the crowd to bear-hug Abby.

"We did it!" she shouted.

Abby grinned and hugged her sister back.

"Congratulations, you guys!" Jessie called out as she skipped excitedly toward them. "I'm so glad all three of us made it! Isn't this great?"

"Totally," Sarah said. Sarah chatted away with the others while Abby listened without joining in.

Why can't I ever think of anything to say in situations like this? Abby asked herself. Sarah can talk to anybody, anytime. I always just stand there. It's like I need an invitation or something! Frustrated, she vowed that she would work as hard as she could to be the best player on the Harewood Junior Hawks. Then everyone would want to talk with her...and it might be a little easier to come up with something to say.


When Abby (grade 9) and Sarah (grade 8) both decide to join the school basketball team, they are equally excited at the prospect of working and playing together at something they both love. However, Abby develops a serious case of jealousy and takes the competitive spirit too far, aiming it right at her sister and teammates. As Abby becomes increasingly obsessed with winning—and being a standout star—Sarah becomes distant. Jump Ball documents a classic case of sibling rivalry in a way that is relatable and sports centric.

      The big appeal of this story is the detailed paragraphs on basketball drills and plays, simply written in a fast-paced tone. Jump Ball is clearly aimed at the reluctant reader set who will rejoice at recognizing a favourite pastime in print. The book does not have a depth of story or description, but it will be successful in engaging its target audience. One slight drawback is that, in its goal to impress upon its readers the importance of team work and equality, Jump Ball struggles with an overly didactic tone. I do, however, commend the honest reflection of the protagonist as she comes to terms with her strengths and weaknesses in light of those of her sister. Although the story follows an all-female team in its journey to win the district championship, the descriptions of the sport and the team dynamics could translate to a male audience.


Amber Allen is a librarian in Toronto, ON, with a passion for children's literature and writing

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

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