CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 2 . . . . September 14, 2007
Foul Shot is a story about a losing basketball team called the Cougars. The two leading players on the all-black team are DeShawn and Luther. They decide that what they need is a star player, and the hunt begins for the tallest student they can find. As it happens, Luther spotted a very tall student in the stands, and the boys set out to find him. Francis is Chinese, and he starts playing for the Cougars as their centre.
The game plan for the team is to pass the ball to Francis, or Frank, as Luther calls him and let him shoot. This strategy results in the Cougars winning some games. However, they do not practice as a team, and this deficiency shows when they come up against a team like Amherst that plays well and is the toughest team in the league.
One of the games against Amherst involved Frank and a dirty player, Henkel, who uses trash talk against Frank with the result that Frank walks off the court and quits. At this point, Frank reminds Luther that basketball is a team sport and that his name is Francis not Frank.
Luther then takes a leadership role, and the team starts to play together and wins some games without Francis. They end up in the semi finals against Amherst. During halftime, Francis walks in and offers to play the second half. The team wins the game.
Still, as Luther says, this in not a Disney movie and the underdogs do not always win the championship.
This story could be used with reluctant readers who are interested in basketball. The characters talk like real kids. While there are illustrations throughout the book, some students who are visually savvy would not pick up this book to read as the illustrations are in black and white and are not very appealing.
The basketball terms involve abbreviations throughout the book, such as “we played some good D.” Teachers or teaching assistants would have to know what such terms mean in order to help students who were not knowledgeable about basketball as there is no glossary explaining the terminology either in the book or the teacher’s guide.
There is an accompanying teacher’s guide which gives some good basic ideas for helping students with comprehension and reading strategies.
Jean Nickel is a Library Technician at the Westglen School in Didsbury, AB.
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