A Whole New Ballgame (Rip and Red, #1)
Rip and Red are best friends whose fifth-grade year is nothing like what they expected. They have a crazy new tattooed teacher named Mr. Acevedo, who doesn't believe in tests or homework and who likes off-the-wall projects, the more "off" the better. They also find themselves with a new basketball coach: Mr. Acevedo! Easy-going Rip is knocked completely out of his comfort zone. And for Red, who has autism and really needs things to be exactly a certain way, the changes are even more of a struggle. But together these two make a great duo who know how to help each other—and find ways to make a difference—in the classroom and on the court.With its energetic and authentic story and artwork, this is a fresh, fun book about school, sports, and friendship.This title has Common Core connections.

A Whole New Ballgame (Rip and Red, #1) Details

TitleA Whole New Ballgame (Rip and Red, #1)
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseAug 18th, 2015
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN0374301301
ISBN-139780374301309
Number of pages256 pages
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Sports and Games, Sports, Fiction, Academic, School, Humor

A Whole New Ballgame (Rip and Red, #1) Review

  • Michele Knott
    May 5, 2015
    What stuck to me as a teacher was Mr. Acevedo's teaching style. Readers Workshop. Writers Workshop. Preview stacks. Read Alouds. What will stick to young readers is the basketball parts. The parts that show the friendship between Rip and Red. The Nasty inquiry project the teacher assigns. I cannot wait to share this book with readers next fall. Be sure to put this book on your August purchase list!
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  • Raina
    March 2, 2016
    Loved promoting this at local elementary schools leading up to the 2016 Summer Reading Program (sports-themed!).Great sports action scenes with believably passionate characters, Nice variety of perspectives in the stars of the show. I was surprised by how much focus was on classroom teaching methods. I described it to friends as "educational escapism." It felt a little contrived, but that coulda been my personal bias. Anyway, I'm really glad there was a heavy emphasis on the sports action too. L Loved promoting this at local elementary schools leading up to the 2016 Summer Reading Program (sports-themed!).Great sports action scenes with believably passionate characters, Nice variety of perspectives in the stars of the show. I was surprised by how much focus was on classroom teaching methods. I described it to friends as "educational escapism." It felt a little contrived, but that coulda been my personal bias. Anyway, I'm really glad there was a heavy emphasis on the sports action too. Like like like!
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  • Jessica Van Tassell
    March 23, 2016
    This book made me smile, made me glad kids are kids and are nicer to each other than adults ever are. I learned some tidbits about basketball which is always a bonus to me. I also welled up a little at the final basketball game section. Most of all? It made me want to be a better teacher.
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  • Andréa
    February 27, 2015
    The characters in A Whole New Ballgame are complex and well-developed. Bildner has captured the wide range of personalities and emotions on display in any middle school.Note: I received an ARC from the publisher.
  • Charles
    August 15, 2015
    Stuff I Read - A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner REviewSometimes regular fiction can be a hard sell for me. I trace my reading preferences back to Goosebumps and I've just moved more into speculative fiction since then, but that doesn't mean that I don't like fiction, especially when it's done well. And, luckily for me, this book is done quite well. And for a children's book it tackles some thorny issues in education that make it interested even for someone who will probably have nothing much Stuff I Read - A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner REviewSometimes regular fiction can be a hard sell for me. I trace my reading preferences back to Goosebumps and I've just moved more into speculative fiction since then, but that doesn't mean that I don't like fiction, especially when it's done well. And, luckily for me, this book is done quite well. And for a children's book it tackles some thorny issues in education that make it interested even for someone who will probably have nothing much to do with education ever again. For all that, I do believe in the power of education, and the responsibility to provide children an education that will encourage them to reach their highest potential. And this book provides a nice glimpse at how the current system is a bit broken and how we might go about starting to fix it.The story follows Rip and Red, two best friends. The book also does a great job of not reducing the characters to what might make them stand out. Rip is black, Red is on the autism spectrum, Avery is in a wheelchair, and yet the book treats them as full characters, as nuanced and strong and with their own problems that have nothing to do with what they look like. They all go to the same school and have to deal with a new teacher when the district reorganizes after having its budget cut. And Mr. Acevedo is not what any of them were expecting. Instead of teaching overtly toward standardized tests, Acevedo emphasizes fun and engagement. He gets the kids interested in school, in reading, and almost tricks them into learning.And it’s a point that's quite a fun one to make, that teaching toward a test doesn't really have to look like teaching toward a test. That, indeed, it becomes something entirely different. Sort of like the teach a person to fish saying, the focus here is on teaching the kids the skills that they will be tested on and not the specific problems. They are allowed to set a lot of their own schedules as long as they make deadlines, thereby giving them more responsibility in their education. Which is not how things happen, because more and more people seem unwilling to trust kids with their own education. They must be shielded or brainwashed to learn this or that, must be kept ignorant in targeted ways. But here they are freed to try, and to learn, and it works. And, yes, it's fiction, but the book does seem to give some good advice for how teaching could be better.In this is also a story about friendship, about not judging people based on how you first gauge them. It's a nice story, full of diversity and with a great mix of humor and heartwarming moments. It's also focused on setting goals and keeping at them even if they don't seem attainable, even if you have to fail a lot until you succeed. It's a fun book with an uplifting ending, and in the end I think that it's entertaining for both young readers and adults and well worth reading. Which means it's an 8.25/10 for me.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 2, 2015
    ARC from Netgalley.comThings are very odd at the beginning of fifth grade, and Rip (aka Mason Irving) and Red (aka Blake Daniels) aren't quite sure what is going on. The venerable Mrs. Hamburger is not their teacher, and the staff has changed, including the principal they were expecting to have. Instead, they have Mr. Acevedo, a tattooed, pony-tail and jeans wearing, test-hating new teacher. He wants them to learn things and not do endless worksheets. They have fun projects, like investigating g ARC from Netgalley.comThings are very odd at the beginning of fifth grade, and Rip (aka Mason Irving) and Red (aka Blake Daniels) aren't quite sure what is going on. The venerable Mrs. Hamburger is not their teacher, and the staff has changed, including the principal they were expecting to have. Instead, they have Mr. Acevedo, a tattooed, pony-tail and jeans wearing, test-hating new teacher. He wants them to learn things and not do endless worksheets. They have fun projects, like investigating gross stuff. Red, who is on the autism spectrum, has a few problems with the changes, but has Rip to help him out. The two end up on the basketball team, which is also under Mr. Acevedo tender care, and his attitude that the process in the most important part of any project holds sway on the court as well. Rip has some problems with all of the changes as well, but his mother (herself a teacher) tells him to hang in there, especially when some of the parents start complaining about the lack of test preparation. Rip gets to work on a project with Avery, a girl who uses a wheelchair and has a bit of a chip on her shoulder about it, and learns to look at things from her perspective. Will the class be able to learn things AND do well on the mandated testing? Strengths: This was a feel good story, with supportive (if somewhat misguided at times) parents, caring teachers, and a really, really diverse cast. Rip is African-American, Red is on the autism spectrum, Avery is physically challenged, Mr. Acevedo is Dominican, there are Russian twins... I'm probably missing some. The length is good, and students will find the classroom methods amusing. Weaknesses: Too preachy about testing, and I can't say that personally I am a fan of teachers who wear jeans and have other hipster affectations. Standing on desks? Sounds like a safety hazard to me. Do classrooms still have clawfoot tubs for reading? That was sort of the "in" thing about thirty years ago. Okay, okay. All objections mainly personal. Looking forward to having the series for my students. What I really thought: Tried a bit too hard, but was a good effort. Will definitely buy. The pictures will help sell this, anything with sports will circulate, and I can see this being a good transition book for readers who don't want to move beyond books the length of Jake Maddox books.
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  • Sally Kruger
    August 31, 2015
    It is not often that a book marketed for an elementary/middle grade audience also strikes a chord with the teachers who offer it to their students. Author Phil Bildner has written such a book. A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME may be intended for kids ages 8-12, but it speaks to educators just the same.Rip and Red are starting fifth grade in the elementary school they have attended since kindergarten. When they arrive at school on the first day, they are greeted by unfamiliar faces. Where is Ms. Hamburger, t It is not often that a book marketed for an elementary/middle grade audience also strikes a chord with the teachers who offer it to their students. Author Phil Bildner has written such a book. A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME may be intended for kids ages 8-12, but it speaks to educators just the same.Rip and Red are starting fifth grade in the elementary school they have attended since kindergarten. When they arrive at school on the first day, they are greeted by unfamiliar faces. Where is Ms. Hamburger, the usual fifth grade teacher? Where is Ms. Darling, the principal? Where is Waldon, the parent coordinator? Upon entering their classroom, Rip and Red come face to face with a man who introduces himself as Mr. Acevedo. A new teacher? How can this be? As the days pass, all the students realize that Mr. Acevedo is not a usual kind of teacher. He encourages reading and writing and starts the students on a research project, but he doesn't believe in worksheets and he doesn't believe in TESTS. Another surprise comes along after school when Rip and Red discover that Mr. Acevedo is also going to be their new basketball coach. Will the fifth graders learn what they need to to pass the district-required standardized tests? Will they actually learn anything at all? And, will their mixed up basketball team ever win a game? Mr. Acevedo doesn't seem to be worried at all.Phil Bildner's fast-paced style and illustrator Tim Probert's great sketches are sure to capture the attention of young readers, but that's just the beginning. Mr. Acevedo's bold approach and dedication to helping kids learn to think and not just regurgitate facts for some mandated test will speak to and encourage teachers to do what is best for their students. A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME truly has something for all audiences!
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  • Brigid
    August 21, 2015
    I'm not exactly sure who the target audience is, but I greatly enjoyed the book. I presume it's for kids, slightly older elementary school children (the characters in the book are 5th graders) but an adult can read it and enjoy it, too and it could be read aloud to younger school-age children. It provides a good illustration of best-case scenario interactions and what it can mean for someone to understand (and not just accept or be aware of) a person with autism.The portrayal of Red, who has hig I'm not exactly sure who the target audience is, but I greatly enjoyed the book. I presume it's for kids, slightly older elementary school children (the characters in the book are 5th graders) but an adult can read it and enjoy it, too and it could be read aloud to younger school-age children. It provides a good illustration of best-case scenario interactions and what it can mean for someone to understand (and not just accept or be aware of) a person with autism.The portrayal of Red, who has high-functioning autism, and his reactions to certain stressful situations are very accurate (although the closest thing to a total meltdown Red has is pretty tame in comparison to what my son is capable of - I guess, if it were my son in Red's shoes, then the author stepped away before it got REALLY bad - but I'm pretty impressed that the author even goes there so I'm not going to nit pick it). The friendship between Rip and Red is an example of the kind of friendship every parent of a child on the spectrum hopes their child will have one day. At least, it's what this mom hopes for her child on the spectrum.The book also takes to task the current teach-to-the-test/teach-how-to-pass-the-test/SOL academic culture we're stuck with, which I know frustrates a lot of people. However, the author's depiction of the teacher, the testing, and the feedback is probably pretty spot-on. (Not being a teacher myself, I cannot vouch for the validity but it sure sounds about right from what I hear from my teacher friends.)I saw, elsewhere, that someone described some of the scenarios as convenient. Well, yes. Some of the story is predictable and some of it is downright far-fethed, but it's a book and one that I presume is directed toward children. I've already purchased a copy to donate to my kids' school library and one for his best friend's birthday.
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  • Jana
    July 22, 2015
    I read a digital ARC from NetGalley and I really liked this book a lot. I think the author has important things to say to a number of different readers. To kids, the author has an important message about inclusion, friendship, and hard work. All of the characters in this story have ways that they struggle: Red is autistic, Avery is wheelchair-bound, and Rip is the glue that holds everyone together. Mr. Acevedo is working hard to teach and reach children in an environment of budget cuts and stand I read a digital ARC from NetGalley and I really liked this book a lot. I think the author has important things to say to a number of different readers. To kids, the author has an important message about inclusion, friendship, and hard work. All of the characters in this story have ways that they struggle: Red is autistic, Avery is wheelchair-bound, and Rip is the glue that holds everyone together. Mr. Acevedo is working hard to teach and reach children in an environment of budget cuts and standardized test mania. There are also some exciting basketball scenes for sports fans, too. I think this is a great book for my 5th grade classroom library.Also, the author has some wonderful things to say to teachers and educators. Mr. Acevedo (the new 5th grade teacher) has awesome ideas for reaching and teaching kids. I love that there are some book titles that I excitedly added to my GoodReads To Read list and some ideas for getting kids excited about authentic learning projects. So I want to get an extra copy for my own bookshelf as a reference and an inspiration!
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  • Allison
    July 6, 2015
    Okay, I don't usually read sports books, but when I got the ARC of this one from Macmillan at ALA, I was really drawn to it for the variety of ways diversity is featured in the cast of characters-- and I'm SO glad I gave it a try! As a librarian, I want to read widely so I can recommend books to all kinds of readers, and now I know I've got a solid middle grade sports story recommendation right here. I should clarify for my fellow non-sports-story readers that this is not ACTUALLY all about bask Okay, I don't usually read sports books, but when I got the ARC of this one from Macmillan at ALA, I was really drawn to it for the variety of ways diversity is featured in the cast of characters-- and I'm SO glad I gave it a try! As a librarian, I want to read widely so I can recommend books to all kinds of readers, and now I know I've got a solid middle grade sports story recommendation right here. I should clarify for my fellow non-sports-story readers that this is not ACTUALLY all about basketball. It's more of a friendship/school story about a class that gets a new teacher with inventive methods that help them think outside the box and grow to understand each other... and some awesome basketball scenes that'll thrill the sports fans. This book made me want to stand up and cheer- I was really rooting for the characters. It's got very natural dialogue and nicely short chapters that keep the pace moving. Totally endearing.
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  • Holly
    June 27, 2015
    I received a copy of this book via Goodreads First Reads. This in no way affected my review. I read this book with my daughter Katie, and she really enjoyed it. I did as well, but had I not been a parent, I probably wouldn't have read this myself. I really enjoyed that not only were the kids focused upon, but the character development of the adults in the book was top notch as well. This made it more interesting for me as an adult reader. The friendship between our two main characters is wonderf I received a copy of this book via Goodreads First Reads. This in no way affected my review. I read this book with my daughter Katie, and she really enjoyed it. I did as well, but had I not been a parent, I probably wouldn't have read this myself. I really enjoyed that not only were the kids focused upon, but the character development of the adults in the book was top notch as well. This made it more interesting for me as an adult reader. The friendship between our two main characters is wonderful and made me think back to my awkward younger years and the friendships I had in the fifth grade, the various experiences etc. and this really made me a bit nostalgic for my elementary school days. All in all, it was a great read! I am a volunteer librarian at my daughter's school and I am donating my copy of this book to the library there, so other children have the chance to read it.
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  • Mary Lee
    May 12, 2015
    Boo-yah! I love this book so much! On my best days, I hope I'm at least a little like Mr. Acevedo. I know for sure we share the same philosophy that good teaching and active learning trumps test prep any day. I love the diversity of the characters. Rip's essay on p. 191 about being unique...when you read that page, stop and read They All Saw a Cat. Perfect text/text connection!I think this will be my next read aloud. And it looks like perhaps the theme for this year's read alouds might be school Boo-yah! I love this book so much! On my best days, I hope I'm at least a little like Mr. Acevedo. I know for sure we share the same philosophy that good teaching and active learning trumps test prep any day. I love the diversity of the characters. Rip's essay on p. 191 about being unique...when you read that page, stop and read They All Saw a Cat. Perfect text/text connection!I think this will be my next read aloud. And it looks like perhaps the theme for this year's read alouds might be school stories. We'll see.
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  • Debbie Tanner
    March 23, 2015
    I loved this story about a fifth grade class dealing with budget cuts (so they have a new teacher who is teaching lots of different classes), testing (their teacher wants to actually teach the kids rather than teach the test), an amazingly diverse class (kids who speak different languages as well as a girl in a wheel chair and an autistic boy), and basketball bullies. The book has a fun, fresh voice and although it has a rosier ending than it probably should have, I think kids will really like t I loved this story about a fifth grade class dealing with budget cuts (so they have a new teacher who is teaching lots of different classes), testing (their teacher wants to actually teach the kids rather than teach the test), an amazingly diverse class (kids who speak different languages as well as a girl in a wheel chair and an autistic boy), and basketball bullies. The book has a fun, fresh voice and although it has a rosier ending than it probably should have, I think kids will really like the narrator and want to read more about these kids and this class.
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  • Shawnta
    March 8, 2016
    This book is really cool. There's this one teacher that comes to rip and reds' school. He is covered with all types of tattoos on his body. He is in charge of the basketball team to. Rip has to deal with a mean girl name Avery in a wheelchair. Red he is just just ill. That teacher is so cool that he doesn't do worksheets or test's. They won not one game yet but they were working on it. The teacher came in one day acting all weird and stuff.
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  • Nicole Otting
    March 15, 2016
    Phil Bildner writes a book that relates to a variety of students and Every teacher out there in this world of High-stakes testing. I loved everything about Rip and Red's friendship, Mr. Acevedo's personality and teaching/coaching style, and the community he built in room 208. I can't wait to share this with my fifth graders and I can't wait to read Rookie of the Year!
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  • Hillary
    April 30, 2016
    This book would make a great beginning of the year read aloud, although I didn't love the use of the word "frigging". There were a couple of instances where the story fit together a little too well that gave it an inauthentic feel. That being said my fourth graders will love it!
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  • Autumn
    September 23, 2015
    I don't run across a lot of books for school-age kids that reflect a modern school experience and classroom, but this one does. A boy book, a diverse book, a reluctant reader friendly book, a book against testing, a book for kindness. And, kids will actually like it. Hats off to Phil Bildner!
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  • Lesley Burnap
    June 18, 2015
    This book about an unlikely pair of basketball-loving 5th graders & their unorthodox first-year teacher is totally rad, dude! I want to BE a Mr. Acevedo to my students! I can't wait for the next Rip & Red adventure!
  • Cassie Thomas
    January 24, 2017
    Must read read-aloud for all teachers and students. Phil Bildner captures the importance of being a hands on teacher and the effects thinking outside of the box have in school, sports, and life. Rip and Red's story is amazing to follow and one students can relate to of any middle aged grade.
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  • Bethe
    March 31, 2015
    4.5 stars. Wishing there were more teachers like Mr. Acevedo at my school, or shall I say, that my teachers had the freedom to employ reader/writer workshop without constant pressure from admin about test scores! Love the diverse kid characters and that Red isn't labeled. Looking forward to book 2.
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  • Patrick
    December 6, 2015
    Loved this story and can't wait to read the second book. This will for sure be a book club book in my room! Two of the best characters...
  • Pms Student
    March 19, 2017
    A Whole New Ballgame is a good book because it shows how 2 fifth graders learn to survive 5th grade. It also shows that you should never give up when you are playing sports. Another reason of why it is a good book is because is shows that even if you have a special ability you can still do anything you want. An example of that was when red, a kid that has autism, made 2 free throws to win a basketball game. One thing that I don’t like about the book is that it is very easy to predict what is goi A Whole New Ballgame is a good book because it shows how 2 fifth graders learn to survive 5th grade. It also shows that you should never give up when you are playing sports. Another reason of why it is a good book is because is shows that even if you have a special ability you can still do anything you want. An example of that was when red, a kid that has autism, made 2 free throws to win a basketball game. One thing that I don’t like about the book is that it is very easy to predict what is going to happen next.
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  • Mary
    March 8, 2017
    Really enjoyed this book which had a rational explanation of how Rip and Red came to be friends. It helped that I completely agree with the author on teaching to the test and the negative impact on teaching and learning.
  • Debbie
    March 21, 2017
    5th graders, Rip and Red (who is slightly autistic), are best friends and watch out for each other. This book, written by a former teacher, tackles the topic of teaching children to think for themselves vs teaching to pass the required tests and how to play as a team despite personalities and abilities. The next book might be interesting to read as this author presents alternatives and out-of-the-box thinking. Children could learn that there are many ways to achieve their goals.
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  • Nan
    March 11, 2017
    Fun story with likable characters. I like how it promotes diversity without trying too hard and how authentic the descriptions of the basketball games are. I think Mr Acevedo is a little unrealistic, but it's nice to see a male teacher in a book!
  • Chris
    March 4, 2017
    The start of fifth grade was nothing like they expected. Budget cuts have resulted in retirements and new programming, and no one is ready for the way the new fifth grade teacher is going to shake things up. Every student will wish for Mr. Acevedo to be their teacher.
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  • Karen Arendt
    August 27, 2015
    Rip (aka Mason Irving) and Red (aka Blake Daniels) are best buds. They are starting 5th grade and both love basketball. When they walk into school, though, they find out that Ms. Hamburger, who was supposed to be their fifth grade teacher, isn’t. They have a new teacher, Mr. Acevedo. Mr. Acevedo is not their typical teacher. He declares their classroom a No Worksheet Zone, says he’s not a big fan of homework, tells the students to look up a word he uses if they don’t know it, and pauses during t Rip (aka Mason Irving) and Red (aka Blake Daniels) are best buds. They are starting 5th grade and both love basketball. When they walk into school, though, they find out that Ms. Hamburger, who was supposed to be their fifth grade teacher, isn’t. They have a new teacher, Mr. Acevedo. Mr. Acevedo is not their typical teacher. He declares their classroom a No Worksheet Zone, says he’s not a big fan of homework, tells the students to look up a word he uses if they don’t know it, and pauses during the day to read, hanging a Do Not Disturb sign around his neck. You may be wondering how the students will learn and pass the important standardized tests; the parents (and a few students) start to wonder the same thing after a month or so.Mr. Acevedo is also the new basketball coach. This is where the sports come in. Due to budget cuts, basketball program has been “consolidated”. (“And if you don’t know what consolidated means, look it up when you get home”.) Not everyone will make the team, and games will be played against other schools in the area. Mr. Acevedo incorporates his unusual teaching style to basketball, too. Rip and Red both make the team, but Red has some difficulties due to his autism. Some excellent sportsmanship lessons occur during the practices and games.The book has a diverse group of characters. Rip is black and has dreadlocks; Red is on the autism spectrum, Avery is a girl in a wheelchair with major attitude (or a chip on her shoulder); Mr. Acevedo is from the Dominican Republic. Each character’s diversity is embraced and included in the story.The chapters are short, but full of activity. There are great illustrations throughout the book to add to the humor. This book would make a great read aloud in all classrooms. It is part humor, part diversity, part sports, part school, but it is an awesomely fun story to read. Recommended for grades 3-6.I will be sharing this book with all my teachers as well as my students at school. I already have a section bookmarked to share as an introduction to the story. I am eagerly looking forward to the next title in the series.
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  • Cassandra Vassell
    December 30, 2016
    Cool
  • Barbara
    November 30, 2015
    Rip and Red have a strong bond, partly based on their love for basketball. Both boys look out for each other, but Rip is especially protective of Red because of his friend's need to have everything remain the same. He doesn't tolerate changes very easily, but with reassurance, he can sometimes do so. Clearly, Red is on the autism spectrum, evidenced through some of his mannerisms and characteristics. When school budget cuts result in their expected teacher and much of the staff retiring early, t Rip and Red have a strong bond, partly based on their love for basketball. Both boys look out for each other, but Rip is especially protective of Red because of his friend's need to have everything remain the same. He doesn't tolerate changes very easily, but with reassurance, he can sometimes do so. Clearly, Red is on the autism spectrum, evidenced through some of his mannerisms and characteristics. When school budget cuts result in their expected teacher and much of the staff retiring early, their class is taught by an inexperienced teacher, Mr. Acevedo, who has a very different approach to learning. Although he makes some mistakes along the way and must contend with anxious parents more interested in test scores than what their children are learning, Mr. Acevedo perseveres, coming up with creative teaching methods and emphasizing the importance of literacy. and working hard to help each student do his/her best. He even ends up coaching the basketball team, which has a disastrous season despite their coach's reassurance that they will win. Readers will cheer at the final pages even if much of it is to be expected. However, maybe, just maybe, a teacher or two or even an administrator or a politician will read this book, part of a planned series, and realize that good teaching always trumps days of test preparation. The book ultimately explores the very question I often ask my own college students to explore: What matters to you about teaching and what is worth teaching? In what ways do you hope to change your students throughout the year and with which lessons do you hope to have them learn? There are some answers about what matters when it comes to education to be found in this little book, if only readers will heed them.
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  • Bridget Neace
    April 28, 2016
    Rip and Red are long-time best friends. Both love basketball and video games and Rip is especially caring and protecting of his buddy who is clearly on the autism spectrum. They are entering 5th grade, where they discover that the teacher who's taught 5th grade at their elementary school forever is gone. Enter Mr. Acevedo, brand-new/first year hip teacher with a ponytail, tattoos, and multiple ear piercings. Mr. Acevedo is adamantly against the whole testing-to-get-ready-for-the-tests-that-prep- Rip and Red are long-time best friends. Both love basketball and video games and Rip is especially caring and protecting of his buddy who is clearly on the autism spectrum. They are entering 5th grade, where they discover that the teacher who's taught 5th grade at their elementary school forever is gone. Enter Mr. Acevedo, brand-new/first year hip teacher with a ponytail, tattoos, and multiple ear piercings. Mr. Acevedo is adamantly against the whole testing-to-get-ready-for-the-tests-that-prep-you-for-THE TESTS. Mr. Acevedo is also the new basketball coach and Rip and Red are so excited when they learn that they make the team, although Rip is decidedly less excited when Mr. Acevedo pairs him up with Avery Goodman, a classmate in a wheelchair with a bad attitude, to work on a group project.I had a difficult time rating this book. I see that lots of other teachers loved it...but, to me, the whole thing just felt FORCED. It was OK. It just wasn't for me.However, that being said, I DO NOT think it is a BAD book. I would never recommend a bad book to kids, but I feel like I could--and will--recommend this book to students. Even though *I* just thought it was an OK/2-star book, I think that KIDS will really enjoy it. In fact, a student of mine saw this book on my desk and exclaimed, "Hey, that kid looks like me!" I told him a little bit about it and asked him if he'd like to see this book in our library and he excitedly said "Yeah!" And this kid doesn't get all that excited about books, so if this book can bring that out in him, I'm all for it, even if it's not a book for ME.
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