Mike Lupica continues to deliver high energy boy books that center around sports. The latest, Game Changers, features Ben McBain, a likeable eleven year old with a passion for all sports and a special love for football. Ben likens himself to Doug Flutie--who, like Ben, was considered undersized and too short to be a quarterback, but who won the National Championship for Boston College and went on to have a terrific NFL career. No one expects the coach to select Ben as starting quarterback even though he has the speed, skills, heart, soul and arm to tackle the job (pun intended).
The team is surprised that Coach O'Brien has moved to town from a successful career in the NFL and having sold his chain of restaurants, has ample time to coach them. His own son Shawn is a great quarterback, too. It comes as no surprise when the coach's son becomes the starting quarterback even though he does not perform consistently. Ben, on the other hand, is nothing if not consistent. Every play, every down, Ben gives it his all. Ben doesn't think that Shawn has the same love of the game that he does.
The two boys are in competition for the entire season. Ben is the harder worker and is motivated to win. Shawn seems to be motivated because he wants his dad's approval and love, not because he wants to win. When the team wins the championship, it's Ben's big day, and Coach gives Ben the game ball. The little guy is really the biggest guy on the team, after all. An uplifting book for any kid who has ever been told that he/she is too short, too little, too light to play a sport.
Recommended for boys and girls who love sports and football. Grades 5-up. Ages 10-14 224 pages
Recommended by: Pamela Thompson, MLIS, Library Media Specialist, Texas USA Visit her award winning ya novels blog at http://booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com/