cover image Game Day

Game Day

Tiki Barber, Ronde Barber, with Robert Burleigh, illus. by Barry Root. . S&S/Wiseman, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-0093-1

Just as football season kicks off, NFL stars and twin brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber return to the picture-book field with a tale of their formative days in Pee Wee Football League. In the follow-up to this creative team's By My Brother's Side , Ronde, deep down, knows he's a talented player. He repeatedly makes key blocks that enable his brother to break away and run with the ball. But Ronde is tired of being the unsung hero and watching Tiki, the leading scorer, get all the glory. When a mild injury sidelines Ronde for a game and Tiki's performance suffers, people take notice of Ronde's contributions. And in the very next game, a trick play wins the day—and gives Ronde his own glorious moment. The tone here is equal parts sunny reminiscence and inspirational game-day pep talk; the text sails along like a skillfully thrown spiral. Kids will quickly grasp the overt message of teamwork, and budding athletes will thrill to know that NFL players experience real childhood struggles, too. Root's slightly fuzzy, earth-toned watercolors capture the speed, action and colors of autumn Saturday afternoons as well as the subtler shadings of the boys' realistic emotions. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)