Norwood House has produced large-print hardback library versions of the Matt Christopher Sports Library of sports oriented fiction for grades 3-6. This spring’s offerings include Catch That Pass; Center Court Sting; The Kid Who Only Hit Homers; Mountain Bike Mania; Snowboard Showdown; and Soccer Halfback. Each book provides exciting stories with conflicts centered around the different sports that kids love. These are sturdy volumes made to withstand many readings. Each is a fun read that still provides important, values-based food for thought. They are perfect for young reluctant readers. They are “Accelerated Reader” compatible. We rated this excellent series five hearts.
Reader: Bob Spear
Daren McCall, the hot-tempered star forward of the Rangers, is blaming everyone but himself for how badly the team is playing-especially center Lou Bettman. Lately Lou's game has been off, and Daren has been taking every opportunity to point it out, usually in front of their teammates. It's not only Lou Daren finds fault with. A young neighbor who has just taken an interest in basketball, the team's towel boy, and even Lynn, Daren's best friend and teammate, fall victim to his sharp barbs. His conversion to Mr. Nice Guy, which occurs halfway through the book, is much too quick to be convincing, and the novel's outcome is predictable. What Christopher handles better is the exciting basketball play-by-play; it's edge-of-your-seat suspense that won't disappoint the author's many fans."
Booklist (Vol. 95, No. 9/10, January 1, 1999)
Daren is a success on the basketball court, but his tendency to cast blame and make hurtful remarks alienates his teammates and even damages his relationship with the young neighbor boy he is coaching. As in most Matt Christopher stories, the protagonist learns an unsubtle lesson about sportsmanship and team-playing in a novel that includes lots of sports action.
Horn Book (Spring 1999)
Hothead Daren McCall can't control his temper. He thinks the world is out to get him and blames his errors and failures-both on and off the basketball court-on everyone else. When his friends are barely speaking to him and the coach has threatened to bench him or kick him off the team, Daren finally realizes his problem. This is a good story with plenty of game action. It gets its lesson across without being preachy and holds readers' interest. The characters are clearly drawn and likable. Although they are probably junior-high age, and the subject matter, theme, and action, will keep older readers engaged, the reading level and simple explanations of basketball plays and defenses make the story accessible to younger children. Mark another one in the win column for Matt Christopher."
School Library Journal (January 1999)
Written in contemporary style, this fast paced sports action paperback moves the reader through a season with the Rangers-a basketball team reported to be the best in the league. Daren blames everyone but himself when the Rangers go through a slump, including a teammate, his best friend, and a young neighbor. Daren finally realizes he is part of the problem and learns to be a real team player. The dialogue is realistic. The action will be sure to please any young sports fan. Christopher scores another win.
Children's Literature Comprehensive Database