________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 5 . . . . November 1, 2002


Road Trip. (An Orca Young Reader, 5).

Eric Walters.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2002.
171 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 1-55143-201-3.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Meredith MacKeen.

*** /4


"Now you really better get going," my mother said.

My father nodded his head in agreement, but instead of going he fumbled around in his seat.

"What's wrong?" my mother asked.

"We can't go."

"Why not? " my mother asked.

" I forgot my keys," my father said sheepishly. He jumped out of the van and ran up the path of the house.

My mother leaned into the van one more time. "Kia," she said. "I'm counting on you."

Kia just smiled in reply.

In book #5 of the basketball stories written by Eric Walters and which feature Nick and Kia, they and their teammates travel from Mississauaga, Ontario, to an elite basketball tournament in the American Midwest. Coach Barkley, who played college ball in the area and is still regarded as a local hero, expects the best performance from his team and is very firm. While feeling a little overwhelmed by the competing teams from around the world, the players still manage to have a good time. When Kia turns out to be the only girl in the tournament, some questions of the team's eligibility are raised. A local journalist sees a fascinating story unfolding and is determined to keep track of developments. The problem is resolved when the two best teams agree that they want the opportunity to compete with the top teams, regardless of the gender of the players.

     Walters captures humourous situations very well, as demonstrated in the above excerpt. The dialogue is witty and adds to the delight of the story. The reading level is classified as grades 2-5, and the interest level continues into grade 7 because of the humour and identification with sports teams. The plot develops slowly at first as the team becomes frustrated with the long car drive but speeds up as firstly the team wants a little independence and fun not sanctioned by the coach and then later when they learn of their potential disqualification. While the characters are one dimensional, they are very consistent and likeable as the story explores the dynamics of family and team relationships. This story is a good read-aloud for younger grades when teachers are looking for something amusing and light, and Road Trip will be enjoyed by the sports enthusiasts among the older readership.


Meredith MacKeen is a teacher-librarian at Glen Stewart Elementary School in Stratford, P.E.I.

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