cover image Shrimpboat and Gym Bags

Shrimpboat and Gym Bags

Sheri Cooper Sinykin / Author Atheneum Books $13.95 (152p) ISB

In this first novel, 11-year-old Bo Ragatz is a talented gymnast who has just moved, with his parents and four-year-old brother Christopher, from California to Wisconsin. The adjustment isn't easy: Bo encounters problems with his teacher while trying to connect with a new friend, and he acquires an instant enemy in Jim Harmon, a gifted but fierce competitor at the gymnastics academy. Bo also has to contend with Christopher's pesky antics and, worse, his father's unyielding demand that Bo maintain his grades if he's to continue gymnastics. Although the story moves slowly in places, Sinykin has generally provided sufficient tension to sustain interest. The dialogue, however, can sound forced, and Bo's likability is sometimes questionable, as the character himself suspects. Yet young gymnasts will undoubtedly find the book appealing, and others may enjoy its Rocky -esque flavor. A glossary helps explain the frequently used ``inside'' terms. Ages 8-11. (Mar.)