Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review: Sticks

A Fair Trade Book

Book Title: Sticks
       
Author: Joan Bauer

Author's web site: http://joanbauer.typepad.com/
       
Date: 1996
       
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell
       
ISBN: 0-440-41387-7
       
Length: 182 pages
       
Quote: “The tournament’s for ten- to thirteen-year-olds and I’m finally old enough to compete., Pool is big stuff in this town.”
       
Ten-year-old Mickey Vernon has a grandmother who owns a pool hall and is determined to win the pool tournament. Thirteen-year-old Buck Pender, a bully, is also determined to win the tournament. When Pender and two of his friends try physical intimidation on Mickey and one of his friends, Mickey’s late father’s friend, Joseph Alvarez, takes Mickey’s side and offers to coach Mickey for the tournament.
       
Problems? Well...sort of. We all know that sports stories for boys have to be pretty straight success fantasies; the hero has to win a tough game. In the hands of Joan Bauer, though, even a sports story for boys has some human interest. Mickey thinks Mr. Alvarez is great. Mr. Alvarez has never married. Mickey’s mother has never remarried. Will she...?
       
It’s a light, mostly cheerful, often funny story, with comic scenes like a lesson on the Boston Tea Party in which the teacher dumps tea bags out of a toy boat into water. Mickey's friend, the math nerd, analyzes the game of pool mathematically for a science project and uses math to win a contest by guessing the number of candies in a jar. Mickey’s sister learns to make enchiladas.

Mostly for middle school readers, this book will amuse kid-friendly adults for the hour or two it takes to read. It's a Fair Trade Book, so the price is $5 for the book + $5 for shipping. (Keep browsing! You can fit other things into the package for that $5.)