CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 13. . . .November 25, 2011
Out of Sight. (Sports Stories).
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2011.
134 pp., pbk., $9.95.
Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
Review by Dana L. Coates.
Did he mean blind … like, you won't be able to see anything at all?" She closed her eyes, imagining blindness as complete, everlasting blackness.
Brian drew a shuddering breath, like a baby exhausted by long crying. "Legally blind is what Dr. Arnold called it. He said I'll be able to see a bit, but not much." He added bitterly, "Not enough to play in goal. I asked him."
Linh-Mai moved closer to Brian so that she looked at him in profile. He was staring across the marsh, where the late afternoon sun glinted on the still water. On the far side, two deer grazed beside the highway and they looked up as a logging truck roared past. She wondered, but didn't dare ask, how much of the scene before him he could see. She wondered what being able to see "a bit" meant; how much he'd be able to see as the disease got worse…
A grade seven student, Linh-Mai, was playing on the Brunswick Valley School's soccer team until her vision became blurry. Then Linh-Mai went to the eye doctor where she picked out a pair of expensive glasses. As she was choosing her glasses, she was worried that she would look like a dork, and that she might not be able to keep playing soccer. Linh-Mai's coach gave her the approval to stay on the soccer team since her glasses were shatter proof.
Meanwhile, the star goalkeeper, Brian, also had difficulty seeing out on the soccer field. Linh-Mai believed that Brian slacked off from school when he went for an eye exam. Little did she know that he had an appointment all day with an eye specialist. Glasses would not solve Brian's vision impairment because he was diagnosed with Leber's disease, a disease that was slowly causing him to go blind. Two problems later emerged since Brian's days were numbered to be goalie for the Brunswick Valley School. Also, the team needed to win the final game against Westfield Ridge Middle School by three goals in order to qualify for the summer games.
Because Out of Sight was written by a former elementary school principal, the author has the credentials to write this story that takes place at a school. Rayner's book is very descriptive and even takes readers to the school with the sights and smells in the soccer coach's kindergarten classroom. The book includes typical teenager issues to which middle grade students can relate, such as fitting in, teasing, and the desire for acceptance.
Out of Sight is well-written with a fast paced, action packed plot. The descriptions of the soccer games include lots of tension and suspense, with, for example, Linh-Mai's glasses ending up being smashed during one of the intense soccer games. Out of Sight is an easy read with no difficult words, except for Leber's disease, but this term is explained in the text. The book will not take long to read as readers won't want to put it down until it is finished.
Dana L. Coates is a grade 6 teacher in Norway House, MB.
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