The facts are illuminating in this fascinating entry in the Issues in Focus series: Each year about 1,000,000 students play football, but only 150 will ever make it to an NFL team—odds of 6,000 to 1. Young basketball players have even less chance of making the pros. Yet in 1992, US households spent $45 billion on sports equipment and clothing. A 1993 Little League champ, age 12, sold autographed baseballs for $35 apiece, the same year 264 major league baseball players earned $1,000,000 or more annually. Judson (Computer Crime, 1994, etc.) ably and repeatedly demonstrates how money and sports are linked in every way, at every level; among a host of issues, she raises moral and ethical questions and covers the social and health consequences that the pressure to win brings. While the author includes positive aspects of the 1990s sports scene in her book, illustrated with periodic black-and-white photographs, the statistics and anecdotes paint a dismal picture: Playing for fun is obsolete and winning at all cost are the sad messages this hard-hitting book delivers. (notes, glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-89490-622-4

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1995

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An entertaining visit to the ballpark.


A high school baseball player fights for his dream of pitching in the major leagues.

Lazarus “Laz” Weathers—so named because he almost died while being born—is a pitcher living in Jet City, a trailer park in Seattle. With a speech impediment and a learning disability, Laz believes that baseball might be the only path available to him after high school. His half brother, Antonio, is 18 months younger and also likes baseball—but lately, Antonio has been hanging out with Garrett, a small-time drug dealer, which worries Laz. After the baseball program closes at North Central High, it’s announced that Jet City will be demolished by developers, and his mother decides to move out of the city. Laz receives the opportunity of a lifetime: transfer to Laurelhurst High, which has the city’s top team, and live with the family of their star player. Knowing he’ll get better training and more exposure to college scouts in Seattle, Laz must decide whether to leave his family and chase after his dream. Deuker (Gutless, 2016, etc.) weaves an interesting plot dealing with socio-economic inequality and drug use into a cast of varied characters. Unfortunately, the secondary characters at times prove to be more interesting that the protagonist, whose characterization falls flat. With few physical descriptions or cultural markers, ethnicity is difficult to determine.

An entertaining visit to the ballpark. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-01242-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Dare-devil mountain-climber Peak Marcello (14), decides to scale the Woolworth Building and lands in jail. To save him, his long-lost Everest-trekking dad appears with a plan for the duo to make a life in Katmandu—a smokescreen to make Peak become the youngest person in history to summit Mount Everest. Peak must learn to navigate the extreme and exotic terrain but negotiate a code of ethics among men. This and other elements such as the return of the long-lost father, bite-size chunks of information about climbing and altitude, an all-male cast, competition and suspense (can Peak be the youngest ever to summit Everest, and can he beat out a 14-year-old Nepalese boy who accompanies him?) creates the tough stuff of a “boys read.” The narrative offers enough of a bumpy ride to satisfy thrill seekers, while Peak’s softer reflective quality lends depth and some—but not too much—emotional resonance. Teachers will want to pair this with Mark Pfetzer’s Within Reach: My Everest Story (1998). (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-15-202417-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2007

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