________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 17 . . . . April 28, 2000

cover Free Throw. (Sports Stories, 34).

Jacqueline Guest.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 1999.
128 pp., pbk., $8.95.
ISBN 1-55028-664-1.

Subject Headings:
Stepfamilies-Juvenile fiction.
Online chat groups-Juvenile fiction.
Moving, Household-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
Review by Audrey Cormier.

**** /4


What kind of attitude is that? If you want to play for the Bandits, MAKE IT HAPPEN! My Granny always said, Can't is a Coward, too lazy to work. If you want on this team, and we both know you do, then WORK for it, MAKE IT HAPPEN! Remember, YOU WIN IN YOUR HEAD FIRST!
The story is told through the thoughts and experiences of Matthew Eagletail, a native Canadian who has grown up on the Tsuu T'ina reserve in Alberta, 30 miles away from Calgary. Matt, a short, agile, 13-year-old boy, lives with his widowed mother and his grandparents on a reserve ranch. He is the star point guard on the Tsuu T'ina Warriors Basketball team. His comfortable world is completely overturned when he discovers that he and his mother will be moving to Bragg Creek with his new stepfather and five stepsisters. He must not only leave behind his championship plans with his friends on the Warriors but his grandparents as well. His adjustments to all these new intrusions in his life make for interesting reading. He quickly becomes a super hero to his younger twin stepsisters. It takes a little more time and the help of a scruffy white dog before his stepsister Jazz, 12, becomes a real friend. Another new-found friend, one found on the Internet Basketball chat room, is "Free Throw" who becomes a reliable, supportive confidant. Matt discovers that HE is the biggest obstacle to his completely adjusting to his new life. Free Throw advises Matt to change his attitude and learn to win. Realizing that he has been his own worst enemy, Matt takes his new attitude with him as he joins a new basketball team and helps them to a tournament victory over his old team. The book is interesting in that a native Canadian is the central character. Skin colour and culture don't seem to be an issue in the story. In a surprise ending, Free Throw is not who he seemed to be! Another less successful surprising aspect of the story is the teens' in-depth knowledge of basketball strategy and play-making. There is very little said of teaching strategy by coaches. The kids seem to run the drills and practices and notice all the weaknesses and strengths in the team themselves - perhaps an unrealistic achievement for 13 year olds.

Highly Recommended.

Audrey Cormier is a retired teacher who volunteers at Red Rock Public Library in Red Rock, ON.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364