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by James E. Ransome & illustrated by James E. Ransome

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2053-7
Publisher: Holiday House

Though his arm lands him a spot on the team as third-string quarterback, short, round Gunner seems to have been glued to the bench. Despite this seeming neglect, Gunner's spirits never flag, and neither does the support of his parents, who root for him from the stands even though they don't much care for sports. His chance to play quarterback in the last moments of the last game of the season feels like a victory, even though his would-be gamewinning pass is intercepted—and there’s no doubt that Gunner’s rookie-of-the-year trophy is richly deserved. The simple, economical narrative supposes a fair amount of familiarity with football but certainly conveys the thrill of Gunner’s short time on the field. Though text and illustration don’t quite match up in a couple of instances, Ransome’s watercolor-and-line drawings as well as page layouts are appropriately full of action, and the faces of the players and crowds engagingly expressive and humorous. Nearly a touchdown; definitely a field goal. (Picture book. 4-7)