Friday, July 11, 2008


Middle grade readers will definitely be able to relate to Stanford. He has basketball on the brain, and like most dedicated athletes, school plays a distant second place in his life. When he receives the bad news that he has flunked sixth grade English, he knows his parents will be annoyed, but he didn't think annoyed would include grounding him from summer basketball camp and enrolling him in summer school with the dreaded Mr. Glick.

Standford (yes, he was named for the famous university) has grown up in the shadow of a super-intelligent older sister. Now she is away at college, and he is left alone with a busy father, a caring, but over-worked mother, and a grandmother who is sometimes a few wontons short of a full load.

Since summer school is the last place his basketball buddies expect him to be, he invents a school job with his father's company. Keeping his school dilemma a secret becomes even more difficult when his mother arranges an additional tutor, the infamous Millicent Min. She is not just a nerd, she is a genius who skipped from middle school to high school and is even taking a college course this summer. If the guys knew what was going on, he'd be kicked out of the Roadrunners before he could sink another free throw.

Lisa Yee has created a group of endearing characters that will keep the most reluctant readers entertained. There is just the right amount of sports action, family drama, romantic appeal, and humor to hold the attention of the middle school crowd. It is terrific for grabbing off the shelf or for reading aloud. I plan to recommend it highly to the 6th-7th grade teachers in my building this fall.

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