Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guys Read The Sports Pages Edited by Jon Scieszka A Review

Guys Read The Sports Pages

by Various Authors
Edited by Jon Scieszka

Goodreads Summary:
Ten stories guaranteed to put you in the ring, under the basket, and right behind home plate, from the following perennial all-stars:
Dustin Brown, James Brown , Joseph Bruchac, Chris Crutcher 
Tim Green, Dan Gutman , Gordon Korman, Chris Rylander 
Anne Ursu, Jacqueline Woodson with illustrations by Dan Santat

So, I don't really read about sports. I don't watch sports. I do have a favorite team, my college team, but I don't watch them, I am superstitious as they always seem to start losing when I watch. And I really only care if they beat the Georgia Bulldogs and FSU. Yep, I'm a Florida Gator in case you haven't read my profile. And as much as I try to understand my husband's stories about playing football in high school and college,  the intensity of it, I just didn't get it. But I have never been disappointed by these short stories in Guys Read and I still haven't. Yeah, it's sports, but I discovered some things as I read.

First, the stories are really varied, as much as sports are. MAX SWINGS FOR THE FENCES  is written by Anne Ursu, author of BREADCRUMBS. and though it isn't fairy tale like in any way, there is a definite and funny lesson to be learned when you claim your dad is a famous baseball player for the Minnesota Twins and he comes to town. I really felt sorry for Max, the new kid in school, who just wanted to fit in so he told a tiny white lie. But Max, and guys, don't ever underestimate girls. I'm sure Max won't ever again. 

My husband played football, in his free time, in a men's league when I met him, in junior high, high school and on a scholarship in college. Yeah, he is INTO football. It's rare that the t.v. isn't tuned in to some game, usually college, during the fall. But I found out he's been holding out on me. Read the story FIND YOUR FIRE by Tim Green and like me you might find out there is a lot of emotion in sports. Who would have guessed. I found myself tearing up at the conclusion of that one. So you want your son to open up about his feelings? Talk in sports metaphors if nothing else works. It's not that they don't want to talk about their feelings, it's that they are saving it for the game!

Dustin Brown, Captain of the Los Angeles Kings,(NHL hockey for the sports impaired) wrote a really informative and thoughtful recounting of his journey to where he is today in AGAINST ALL ODDS. I rarely watch hockey, been to a few minor league games here in Charlotte, but now I appreciate what it takes for these players to get where they are, the dedication and the sacrifice. I think they are some of the youngest players on professional teams and Dustin Brown's decision between going to college and trying to be one of two hundred out of 30,000 players in Junior Hockey to be asked to the NHL Draft was a life altering decision at such a young age. At 18, the time we will be sending our kids to college, or most of the kids reading this will be going to college, Dustin was playing for the NHL. That's HUGE! It was a definite dream come true, but you need to read his story to see how it wasn't just handed to him. He worked for it. Hard! It's a great story.

What about the rest of the stories? They are all great! I loved the story Chris Rylander wrote I WILL DESTROY YOU, DEREK JETER! And wonder of all wonders, my reluctant reader caught me reading it to my husband (another reluctant reader at 50) and they both want to read it! I'm still not quite recovered but will be handing this off shortly to the younger of the two as soon as my review is done! 
THE TROPHY by Gordon Korman is a great competitive story about finding friendship through sports in the most unlikely of circumstances. CHOKE by James Brown was a great story about taking the fight from outside the ring into it and the joy of knowing, win or lose, you've done what you set out to do.

I think beginning the book with Dan Gutman's HOW I WON THE WORLD SERIES and his lucky grapefruit (he's superstitious, too, though he can watch his team play) and ending it with I WILL DESTROY YOU, DEREK JETER was perfect! I don't care how much you don't like sports, you will find something in each of these stories to take away and remember. And if you're lucky enough like me, you'll find two reluctant readers in your house that want to read it even if one of them is older than you!

This is definitely for your middle grade and above readers. Reluctant readers especially will enjoy the short stories. Again, I enjoy and appreciate short stories for the fact that I can put them down and pick them up again without having to remember where the story was when I left off. This is something I think reluctant readers also appreciate. But make no mistake, anyone will enjoy these stories. I did, and I am no fan of sports!  These stories will stick with me. I may even discuss them with my son....!

Thanks to Kellie at Walden Pond Press for always sending me ARCS of the best books, this one included.
I was not compensated for my review of this novel.


  1. I totally need to show this book to Pushy!!!! I know her son loves to read and this one is perfect for him :)

    1. The whole series is great! I've reviewed them all and recommend not reading Guys Read Funny Business while drinking any beverage due to the possibility of snorting it out of your nose. This is a great one! My 15 yr old has it now!

  2. I am so grateful for the Guys Read series. It has hooked so many of the reluctant boy readers in my class. I consider Jon Scieszka a deity.

    1. He is definitely a god of some type! We loved his children's books, but these are so awesome! I give them to the librarian at the middle school my son goes to so she can read them. One day, when they have money, she'll order them for the library! Every elementary and middle school should have them. (my son is in high school and is reading it) Reading is Reading!

  3. "So you want your son to open up about his feelings? Talk in sports metaphors if nothing else works. It's not that they don't want to talk about their feelings, it's that they are saving it for the game!"

    This is quality information Heather! I'm making a note of it for when hubs and I start a family, though I'll need to brush up on my sports metaphors so I can be prepared;-) These stories sound awesome, and I love that some had you tearing up while reading, love it when that happens!

    1. These are books that are timeless (unless the Cubs finally break the Curse of the Billy Goat)! But truly until we have flying cars and such, these books will always be important to boys especially. I believe that was the goal, to get more boys to read. I believe they have succeeded. Can't wait to see where they go next!

      I'm not up on my sports metaphors, but having the oh so knowledgeable hubby, I can improvise. I just have to suffer through a game or two to pick up some words. Nose tackle, offsides, touchback, fleaflicker, penalty(I think that will be useful)....

  4. Oh I really think this one is perfect for my little cousins. They live in this family so they have to like at least one sports team. I think it's coded in the DNA (even the one adopted... I think it came with the papers.. LOL).

    Btw... go Broncos, Avs, Nuggets (they need all the help they can get) and Rockies (ditto)! ;D

    1. If they can read chapter books, then it's perfect for them. Stories vary in length but the whole series of the Guys Read Stories are awesome. Unfortunately, I don't remember any of the above teams being mentioned.
      But Yay teams!!

  5. I'm really not into sports and often feel disconnected if a book has a sports theme. But I'm really happy you DID enjoy this one and that it maybe helped you understand boys and their sports. I think its great that there are 'boys' books still coming out cause it seems like they are getting scarcer and scarcer!

  6. These stories sound great! I am not much into sports, but from your review the stories can be enjoyed by anyone. I will recommend them to my nephew! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Glad to see that even a non-sports-following person like yourself (and myself) enjoyed these. My son follows football, to an extent, but I don't think he's ever read a sports themed book, or even a book of short stories. I'll have to show this to him and see what he thinks!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake


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