The Bench Warmers by David Lawrence
Ill. by James Hart. Ball Stars series. Random House, 2017.
(Age: 7-9) Basketball Australia has collaborated with author David Lawrence to promote this sport in a fun and positive way. This junior novel introduces the Bench Warmers the new basketball team at Robdale Primary School.
When Danny Davis and his family move to their new home, his Dad coaxes him out of his computer gaming world and introduces him to basketball and Danny's life changes. Soon, his Mum and Dad begin to worry that shooting hoops is taking over his life. Luckily, for Danny, he teams up with another new student Crystal and instantly becomes friends. They are both placed in 6W with Miss Wright who is also nervous about her first day of teaching.
Danny, Crystal, Angie, Omyr, Leanne and Cody form the Bench Warmers team and practice hard to win the lunchtime basketball games. Self-centered Greg McGuffin, a basketball hotshot and class member, taunts the new team and makes their lives difficult. Miss Take, the principal, gives poor Miss Wright the job of coaching the basketball team. When things do not go to plan, the principal takes over as coach (she is clueless about the game) and they have to train themselves.
The Bench Warmers is filled with basketball moves, techniques and funny commentary and sportsmanship as the team learn to work together supporting each other's abilities and differences. Miss Take's character is more caricature; she is self-obsessed and does not really reflect any positive qualities.
This is a fun, easy to read novel for basketball fans.