An argument between Little Shaq and his cousin Barry turns the two young basketball players into gardeners.
After Little Shaq makes a spectacular play in a basketball game at the rec center, Barry storms away mad. Astute readers will, like Little Shaq's next-door neighbor Rosa, recognize Barry's reason before Little Shaq does: rather than pass the ball to Barry when he called for it, Little Shaq ignored him, keeping the fun and the glory for himself. When Little Shaq's self-centered behavior rears its head again in a video gaming session, Barry throws his controller in frustration, breaking the game disc. After a fortuitous gardening lesson at school and an intervention by Little Shaq's dad, the boys launch a plan together to earn money for a replacement game. The boys' pride in their work shines through both the text and the artwork, and the basic elements of planting and watering are conveyed simply and effectively. There are lively, full-color illustrations throughout, some full-page, many playfully interspersed with the text. A community gathering to refurbish the rec center's garden—and eat a neighbor's homegrown tomato salsa—provides a feel-good finale to this above-average celebrity vehicle.
A conflict-resolution story that may well inspire young sports lovers to garden—or young gardeners to pick up a basketball. (Fiction. 5-8)