CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 3 . . . . October 1, 2004
When Kia notices Aston sitting on a swing down the street from the basketball court, she decides to ask him if he would like to play two-on-two with her, Nick and Mark. Minutes after accepting the offer, Nick and Kia become aware of Ashton's great basketball skills and encourage him to try out for the Mississauga Magic rep team. There is only one problem. Although Ashton has some great basketball moves, he is not much of a team player. Impressing the coach with his skills, Ashton does make the team but begins to have doubts about playing for the rep team. Ashton feels that the coach is constantly picking on him and even goes as far as telling Nick that he thinks the coach is racist. What Ashton doesn't realize is that a great basketball player doesn't only have talent and skill but must play together with the other team members to achieve success as a team. In order to be a team player, Ashton will need to change his attitude and understand that the coach is only trying to help him reach his full potential as a basketball player and team member. Ashton must learn that being a team player consists of prevailing individual differences in more ways than one, and together Nick and Kia help him realize that he is an asset to the team. Together, these three Grade 5 students learn some tough lessons on and off the basketball court.
Underdog is the seventh book in Eric Walters' popular basketball series for young readers. This title is not only about teamwork, friendship and determination but also it reflects on ethnic issues that may arise when individuals come together to share their diverse traits to form a heterogeneous team. This book consists of larger print for young readers and touches on life issues that young individuals may encounter. The language and pace of the book are appropriate for the intended audience. A free teacher's guide is available for teachers who choose to use this book in their classroom.
Georgie Perigny is a Teacher's Assistant at Eckville Elementary School in Alberta and is currently obtaining her Bachelor of Education degree through the University of Alberta at Red Deer College.
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