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Children's Literature Reviews
Item 1 of 1

Hoop girlz
Lucy Jane Bledsoe.
New York : Holiday House, 2002.
162 p. ; 22 cm.

Annotations:

When ten-year-old River, who is crazy about basketball, is not chosen to play in the tournament set up in the town of Azalea, Oregon, she decides to organize a team of her own and accepts the help of her older brother.

Best Books:

Best Children's Books of the Year, 2003 ; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Core Collection: Sports Fiction for Girls, 2007 ; Booklist; United States
Top 10 Youth Sports Books, 2003 ; American Library Association; United States

State and Provincial Reading Lists:

Great Stone Face Award, 2003-2004 ; Nominee; New Hampshire
Maryland Children’s Book Award, 2004 ; Nominee; Intermediate; Maryland

Reading Measurement Programs:


Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 4
Accelerated Reader Points 4

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.
Lexile Measure 630

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 3
Title Point Value 8
Lexile Measure 630

Reviews:

Bill Ott (Booklist, Sep. 1, 2002 (Vol. 99, No. 1))
Eleven-year-old River Borowitz-Jacobs, a sixth-grader in tiny Azaela, Oregon, dreams of playing basketball in the WNBA, just like her idol, Emily Hargraves, also from Azaela. She thinks she's on her way when the new high-school coach announces the formation of a sixth-grade girls team that will compete in a tournament with teams from other nearby towns; the most valuable player in the tournament will get to meet Hargraves and attend her basketball camp. Emily's dreams appear derailed when she is cut from the "A" team, but she gathers together the other rejects, including a wheelchair-bound girl with a terrific outside shot, and forms Hoop Girlz, dedicated to having fun. The setup smacks of yet another version of Bad News Bears, but Bledsoe cleverly avoids most of the cliches, not only by varying the ending but also by injecting lots of against-the-grain subplots, including River's hopelessly uncool parents, artists and latter-day hippies who don't believe in competition and eat bee pollen. The basketball scenes are well constructed and realistic, the humor is fresh, and the characters are believable. Good fun for hoop girls and boys alike. Category: Books for Middle Readers--Fiction. 2002, Holiday, $16.95. Gr. 5-7.

Claudia Mills, Ph.D. (Children's Literature)
The tried-and-true sports story formula of the triumph of the underdogs gets a fresh, funny, and touching treatment here. River Borowitz-Jacobs (her name gives a good glimpse of her vegetarian, feminist parents) is devastated when she fails to make the cut for Coach Glover's elite sixth-grade girls' basketball "A-Team," but instead is assigned to the "B-Team" with the other rejects, including a girl in a wheelchair and someone's fourth-grade sister. But right away she rallies and renames the B-Team the "Hoop Girlz," with only one goal in mind--fun! While the A-Team players run "suicide" drills on the reserved indoor courts, training how best to showcase the athletic gifts of Coach Glover's daughter, the Hoop Girlz develop teamwork on outdoor courts in the rain, coached only by River's fourteen-year-old brother. Impressed by her determination, Coach Glover finally offers River her long-coveted spot on the A-Team, but River surprises herself (though not the reader) by staying with the Hoop Girlz. Bledsoe manages to stage a (partial) victory for River's team in a just-believable-enough way to leave readers crying and cheering at the end. Along the way, a subplot involving a local "haunted" house is cleverly integrated into the story's resolution, and Coach Glover and his ball-hogging daughter learn to lighten up as well. The badly needed message is that playing to win is not as powerful as playing for the love of it. 2002, Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 10 to 14.

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2002 (Vol. 70, No. 17))
An 11-year-old girl who lives to play basketball creates her own team, the Hoop Girlz, when she's not selected to be on the town's A-list squad. River Borowitz-Jacobs adores basketball. So when tough-minded Coach Wally Glover recruits sixth-grade girls to play in the Oregon Coast Tournament, an opportunity that will afford one talented child a shot at free basketball camp, River is at the tryouts. But Coach "play to win" Glover feels that River lacks the necessary "mental fortitude," so she doesn't make the cut. After her initial devastation, River bounces back and creates her own team made up of Glover's rejects, including a girl in a wheelchair and a teammate's little sister. Aided by her older brother Zack, who turns out to be a shrewd and savvy coach, the Hoop Girlz learn not only how to strategize and work together as a unit, but also how to have "fun, fun, fun" while doing it. The story is so familiar that readers will almost be able to hear the theme music in the background as River's team overcomes obstacles and prepares for the big meet. Still, the formula works, the ride is enjoyable, and Bledsoe (Cougar Canyon, 2001, etc.) throws in a few minor surprises to keep young bookworms on their toes. Although the material is slightly marred by an undercooked subplot involving Coach Glover's daughter, Bledsoe is able to transmit her most important point, the pure love of playing, which River likens to going "through a secret door" and entering the "magical kingdom of basketball." Tailor-made for the high-interest, low-reading level audience, too. 2002, Holiday House, $16.95. Category: Fiction. Ages 10 to 14. © 2002 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Subjects:

Basketball Fiction.
Teamwork (Sports) Fiction.
Self-confidence Fiction.
Brothers and sisters Fiction.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) PZ7.B6168 Ho 2002
2001059451 [Fic]
0823416917
9780823416912
9780823416912
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