My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mo Jackson loves football, but he is smaller and younger than all of the other players on his team. He usually sits on the bench… until one day Coach Steve puts him in. The other team doesn’t think they will throw the ball to Mo, or that Mo will catch it, or that he will be able to run very fast. At the end of a game they are loosing, Coach Steve puts Mo in. He goes deep, he catches the ball, he runs it in, and they win the game. Mo tells Coach Steve that his play won the game, but Coach Steve says that Mo was the one that caught the ball.
This recently took home the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award at the 2016 ALA Youth Media Awards for the most distinguished beginning reader book. Personally, I think some of the honor books were perhaps a little more worthy (A Pig, A Box, and A Fox). But this is a sweet little story about achievement which is something little ones just learning to read get a rare glimpse of during this time of development.
I am torn on something about this book. Mo is just a part of Coach Steve’s plan. He isn’t the one to initiate it. We don’t really get to hear Mo’s point of view. Is he questioning himself? Struggling? Perhaps this is intentional. And at the same time, I like the relationship of adult and child… teacher and student. Teacher laying out a situation for discovery.
Perhaps I dig too deep into easy readers? 🙂 But children transitioning to reading on their own need good material. Quality easy readers are rare so I always appreciate when one is well done!
This would make a good book to highlight during #SRP2016.