In this companion to Geisel Award–winning Don’t Throw It to Mo! (2015), it’s basketball season for small and mighty Mo Jackson, who must practice, practice, and practice before the big game.
Everyone on the team is taller than the little black boy, and he’s struggling to make sure his passes reach their hands. Coach Emma tries to help, but it’s not coming easy. “I have to practice passing,” Mo tells his dad on the walk home after practice. The big game is Saturday, and Mo’s mom prepares him with a big breakfast. Mo and teammate Eve watch from the bench until Eve enters after halftime. The score remains close deep into the second half. Mo will finally have his chance, as his teammate Gail needs to get a rest. “Go in” Coach says, and everyone waits to see if Mo can do what he’s been practicing all week. He’s quickly backed into a crunch, with the overpowering adversary Big Max blocking his way. “Here goes,” Max says as the book races to a surprising finish. The cartoon-styled, detailed illustrations allow emerging readers to follow the developing plot and make predictions using essential character context clues, while an ethnically diverse set of characters and equally diverse array of youth body types found within the story make for a well-rounded portrait of today’s readers. Mo’s mom and dad are both black, and Coach Emma is both brown-skinned and a woman.
Executed well and fun to read, this is a great addition to an already acclaimed series. (Early reader. 4-7)