Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Whole New Ballgame: A Rip and Red Story by Phil Bildner...

How I Heard About It:  While at NCTE this past November, I was browsing the exhibit hall.  I came across this title (and the upcoming sequel) at one of the publisher's booth.  This discovery also allowed me to meet Phil and chat with him for a few minutes.  He was one of the coolest guys I have met.  I was excited to read the book and see if I would share it with my fourth graders.  

What It Is About:  Rip and Red are best friends.  They have been buddies for a very long time.  The boys are about to kick off their fifth grade year.  Learning they will be in the same class puts them over the moon.  On the first day of school they learn the teacher they were to have has "left" and their is a replacement teacher.  His name is Mr. Acevedo.  The boys aren't sure what to think of him because he isn't like your "typical" teacher.  Mr. Acevedo's teaching methods are quite different, he doesn't believe in test prep, and he lets the kids read and write while standing on their desks.  Rip and Red are pumped up to join the fifth grade basketball team.  They are surprised to learn that Mr. Acevedo is also the coach.  Rip is one of the star players and Red is a major part of the team; just not on the court.  Rip has made it his "job" to protect Red at any cost.  

What I Thought Of It:  This has to be one of the best middle-grade novels I've read in a very long time.  I love it when I stumble across a title/author that I haven't heard of and end up falling in love with the story.  That happened with this book.  Once I started the book earlier this week, I could not put it down and thought about it even when I wasn't reading it.  The story had everything.  Two awesome characters that supported each other, an incredible teacher role-model, sports, friendship, and lots of great life lessons.  As I read it I just kept thinking how much my fourth graders would enjoy the story of Rip and Red.  I'm lucky to have grabbed the ARC of the next book in the series and am quite excited to continue the story.  

Who Should Read It:  I could tell that Phil is a former teacher because he gets kids and he gets teachers.  It was a true pleasure to read.  This novel is the perfect book for readers in third, fourth, and fifth grade.  The chapters are short, there are lots of incredible illustrations, and the story moves along at a wonderful pace that will keep the attention of any reader.  The book would also make for a great read aloud.  I hope you enjoy this novel as much as I did.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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