________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 21 . . . . June 8, 2007


Boot Camp. (Orca Young Readers).

Eric Walters, Jerome Williams & Johnnie Williams III.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2007.
181 pp., pbk., $7.95.
ISBN 978-1-55143-695-1.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Deborah Pethrick.

**½ /4


“…This is JYD.” 

My mouth dropped open. “Junk Yard Dog?” I gasped.

“Unless you know another JYD.”

“No, of course not. I just didn’t recognize your voice and I didn’t expect you to call me. It’s not everyday an NBA player calls me!” Jerome played basketball in the NBA, and I’d met him at a promotional event at the mall. He was my favourite player. My best friend, Kia, who was with me that day, had asked him for help in dealing with some bullies who wouldn’t let us play on the court at the community center. Unbelievably, he’d come and played on our team and helped us show those bullies up. And, more importantly, he’s shown everybody what being a good sport and teammate was all about.”

Nick and Kia get a personal invitation to participate in a summer basketball boot camp in this ninth instalment of the Nick and Kia series. With the invitation coming from Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams, a NBA star, there is no hesitation in accepting. To add to their excitement, Nick and Kia learn Jerome William’s brother, Johnnie Williams III, and father, known as Sergeant Push Up, will be helping to run the camp. 

     The pair quickly learn the meaning of hard work and discipline. They also learn that egos and team work don’t mix when they meet fellow teammate Jamal.

“Our buddy Jamal was actually one of the few people I thought had more skill than us. The only thing more remarkable than his skill was his trash talking. It wasn’t just Kia and me he gave attitude to. He seemed to tick off a lot of the other kids.”

     Together, they must learn to set aside personal differences to work and play cooperatively if they wish to succeed at the boot camp. In doing so, they realize how difficult life has been for Jamal and why he behaves as he does. In the end, Nick and Kia not only have a teammate but a good friend as well.

     The chapters are an achievable length - 5-7 pages - for those readers who are discouraged from reading chapter books. And while the dialogue is sometimes contrived, the use of basketball jargon will give readers a real sense of the game.

     The book is overflowing with adult advice and life lessons to be learned, but the exciting scrimmage and fast paced game descriptions will appeal to young basketball fans.


Deborah Pethrick, a library tech in a K-9 school in Winnipeg, MB, is forever reading to
keep up with the students.

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

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.