________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 8. . . October 27, 2017


Bad Shot. (Sports Stories).

Sylvia Taekema.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2017.
126 pp., trade pbk. & EPUB, $12.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4594-1161-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4594-1166-1 (EPUB).

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Andrea Boyd.

*** /4


He could feel the energy of the ball in his hands as he streaked down the court. It was time for his own cool moves. Everything compressed into slow motion—one boy, one ball, one chance.


Cody Wallace is known for being the best junior high basketball player at his school in Chatham, ON. He lives and breathes basketball, day in and day out. That is until the new student, Nick, arrives and quickly steals Cody’s the spotlight on the court. Nick has the latest and greatest of everything basketball related that Cody only dreamed of having: expensive Super.Fly shoes, a subscription to Sports Illustrated magazines to read all about the latest statistics and tricks, even a basketball signed by Lebron James!

     Eager to show off his basketball skills and see what the new kid has got, Cody immediately gravitates towards Nick on the playground. With basketball tryouts right around the corner, everyone was practicing shooting hoops at recess. Cody shot the ball and drained it. Nick shot and sank a dunker. Cody buried another one. Nick did the same. Excited about his highly skilled soon-to-be teammate, Cody cheered Nick on as he continued to make shots. That didn’t last long though as it soon became clear that Nick did not show the same support for Cody. When Cody finally sank the difficult shot that he’s been continuously practicing, nobody on the recess court said a word or even smiled. It was all about Nick now. Cody felt like a rookie on the court. To everyone’s surprise, including even his best friends, Cody began playing kickball over basketball during recess.

     Bad Shot has a predictable storyline; however, it is one to which many teenage sports stars can relate, thereby adding to its appeal to youth. Even the most skilled athletes may struggle with self-doubt that comes from comparing themselves to others. Sport psychologists have shown the significant effects of self-talk, positive and negative. Cody’s initial positive mindset springs a leak and is increasingly worn down with each dig from the new kid. The worst part for Cody is that Nick’s comments were never outright rude. Nick would taunt and tease Cody through seemingly harmless words. For example, one time after Cody misses a shot on the court, Nick says, “Yeah Wally, you almost had that one” (p. 100). The more that Nick continues these remarks, the easier it is for him to get under Cody’s skin, and they both know it.

     Bad Shot is a good read for all young readers, in particular athletes similar to main characters Cody and Nick. It serves as a reminder to focus on getting one’s head back in the game rather than getting caught up in the drama between players.


Andrea Boyd is an early years educator in Winnipeg, MB.

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

© CM Association

This Creative Commons license allows you to download the review and share it with others as long as you credit the CM Association. You cannot change the review in any way or use it commercially.

Hosted by the
University of

Commercial use is available through a contract with the CM Association. This Creative Commons license allows publishers whose works are being reviewed to download and share said CM reviews provided you credit the CM Association.

Next Review | Table of Contents For This Issue - October 27, 2017
CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive