Fourth Grade Journey

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

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Tournament of Champions by Phil Bildner

How I Heard About It:  Phil's Rip and Red series is one of my favorites for middle-grade readers.  I remember reading the first book and just being blown away.  I loved it and knew my fourth grade readers would as well.  It actually became a "Breakfast with Books" book club selection the last couple of years.  We have been lucky enough to chat with Phil via Skype.  I also loved Rookie of the Year.  I was excited to learn that the third installment was coming out in June of this year.  It was an honor that Phil arranged for an ARC to be sent to me so both myself and my readers could continue the adventures of Rip and Red.  

What It Is About:  Rip and Red are back with all the excitement, fun, and "antics" that you would expect.  Their fifth grade year continues with their awesome teacher/coach Mr. Acevedo and both boys are ready for more basketball.   Their coach has arranged for the boys to be part of a basketball team that will travel to a different city for the games.  This travel opportunity presents both boys with new challenges and goals.  Rip is excited about the chance to play in the big tournament, but isn't so sure about the make-up of the team players that the coach has put together.  Red has made a lot of progress in his life, but still has certain "issues" that are trigger buttons.  Being away for the tournament could be one of them.  As his best friend, Rip wants to make sure Red is with the team for this tournament.  Both boys get to know some of the other players and the "stuff" that they too have had to endure in their short life.  The biggest surprise comes to Rip when an unexpected visitor shows up and wants to be a part of his life.  This may be more of a challenge than playing basketball out on the court.  

What I Thought Of It:  I had the day off on Friday and spent a big part of it enjoying this third book in the series.  It was a complete joy to return to RJE school to see what these two awesome boys were up to.  I like the fact that so far all the books have taken place during the fifth grade year.  Each book has covered a different "season" of the school year.  It was fun to read about the boys taking their team and game out on the road for a "bigger" tournament where there was more at stake.  The introduction and further exploration of some of the other characters was enjoyable to read about.  I especially enjoyed getting to know Diego and his story.  The surprise visit by a new character was also a twist in the plot line.  This is an awesome addition to the series and I know my readers are going to enjoy it as much as I did.  

Who Should Read It:  The Rip and Red series is absolutely perfect for readers in grades three, four, five, and sixth.  The chapters are a perfect length, the illustrations add greatly to the plot, and the story line is engaging, fun, and interesting for our middle-grade readers.  If you and/or your students have read the first two books in the series, then you for sure need to put this title on our TBR list.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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