cover image BY MY BROTHER'S SIDE


Tiki Barber, Ronde Barber, , illus. by Barry Root. . S&S/Wiseman, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-86559-6

Professional football stars and twin brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber score with this gentle, inspiring look at defining moments of their childhood, and the early seeds of their athletic careers. Born "smaller than most babies," the Barbers might have faced a difficult time playing sports. But the boys benefited from a secret weapon they didn't even know they had—an ever-supportive mother who encouraged them to work hard and always be there for each other ("Believe in yourself and others will too," she says). When young Tiki suffers a serious leg injury in a bicycle crash, he's devastated. Ronde never flags in keeping his twin's spirits up, however, and before long the two are tossing a baseball, then a football around like nothing had ever happened. Then, on the eve of their Pee Wee League football season, the boys vow to make it to the top, together, "playing in a big stadium... in front of a great big crowd," Super Bowl–big. Sports fans know that their dream came true. The Barbers, with help from Robert Burleigh, give a warm focus to the family foundation they believe is instrumental to their successes and their lives. Without sounding trite, they appealingly deliver the messages of perseverance and sibling solidarity. Root's sunny watercolors, often accented with lush, green trees, capture action on and off the field, conveying the energy of the Barbers' on-the-go childhood and upbeat attitude. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)