An NFL quarterback and the “Queen of Christian Fiction” (so styled by Time magazine) deliver a heaping shovelful of sugary inspiration.
Dreaming of becoming, respectively, a football player and a pilot, young classmates Alex and Bobby face obstacles. Alex is small and always is chosen last for playground kickball, and Bobby is a foster child with attendant self-esteem and poverty issues, but they overcome them with hard work and an encouraging jingle from Alex’s singing grandpa: “Go ahead and dream, / However big it seems. / Work hard, believe, / And don’t give up.” The news that grandpa has “gone to heaven” leaves both lads sad, but his memory prompts them to keep each other on the path to success, and by the time they’ve reached adulthood, guess what? Receiving nary a nod in either the blurb or Kingsbury’s afterword, Banning contributes appropriately bland, static scenes featuring realistically painted figures (Bobby has slightly darker skin than “Alex,” who closely resembles his adult namesake) with glossy skin and plastic smiles.
A superficial sketch, driven far more by its worthy agenda than by any effort or evident desire to connect with real readers. (Picture book. 7-9)