Basketball Bats / Goof-Off Goalie

Gym Shorts

Betty Hicks; Illustrated by Adam McCauley

Square Fish

Basketball Bats
Betty Hicks
Illustrated by Adam McCauley
Henry and his four friends on Rockford Road are an unbeatable basketball team--on their driveway court. But without team T-shirts or an official name, can they take on the Tigers, a team that plays at the huge YWCA and has a player old enough to shave? Henry feels sure he can lead his friends to victory, but is he really a team player? Or is he a ball hog?
"With McCauley's expressive spot illustrations accompanying Hicks's breezily simple text, this series will be a great stepping-stone for reluctant or new readers, easily introducing topical issues with its blend of humor and sports. A real score!"
--Kirkus Reviews
"In this promising start for the Gym Shorts series, Hicks finds just the right balance between story line, play-by-play action, and wry humor ... . Nearly every double-page spread includes a droll illustration by McCauley, the illustrator of Scieszka's Time Warp Trio series. A winner for young sports fans."
Henry felt lucky. He had four friends.
Exactly enough to make a basketball team.
To Henry, playing sports was better than triple-scoop ice cream. Better than the circus coming to town. Better than anything.
Henry dribbled the ball just inside the chalk line he'd drawn across his driveway. It marked the boundary of his backyard basketball court.
He did a spin move and drove for the basket. A layup is too easy, thought Henry. Instead, he pulled up short. He aimed and threw up a mid-range jump shot. Swish!
"I could squash you like a bug," snarled a gruff voice.
"Huh?" Henry stared at the boy at the top of his driveway. He had spiky hair. His body slouched to one side.
"Me and my friends," said Tough Guy. "The Tigers.
We can beat anybody."
"Yeah?" said Henry.
"Well, my friends are good, too."
"I doubt it," sneered Tough Guy.
I'd like to squash him like a bug, thought Henry.
But he didn't say it out loud. Instead, he said, "We challenge you. Tomorrow. Right here--three o'clock."
"Your funeral," said Tough Guy.
BASKETBALL BATS. Text copyright © 2008 by Betty Hicks. Illustrations copyright © 2008 by Adam McCauley. All rights reserved. For information, address Square Fish, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.