BOOK REVIEWS

Most Valuable Players (Rip and Red) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-01-14 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:0374305102
LANGUAGE:English

" Wonderful way to end Rip and Red’s 5th grade year! Entertaining and inspiring. " said.

" The fourth book in the Rip and Red series, Most Valuable Players is my favorite in the series so far. Phil Bildner once again highlights the power of our young men and women to make a difference through kindness and working together. My students are going to be so excited! " said.

" Love this series, sorry to see it end. Every kid should have teachers like Mr. Acevedo at least know in their school careers. Rip asks if his future middle school teacher would read aloud like Mr. Acevedo, or if middle school teacher would read aloud at all. So sad that Rip has to ask that, so sad that he probably will be disappointed with the answer. Also love the shout outs to kid kit greats. " said.

"Best Friends Rip and Red are excited about finally graduating 5th grade and going onto middle school, but before they get there they have one more week of school left and some exciting graduation activities that will happen. There will be graduation, a gala party, and a trick basketball demonstration by some of Rip’s heroes- The Hoops Machine. When the school board insists that the 5th graders take one more standardized test without giving a good reason for it, the students call for and stage their own protest and opt out from taking it. They use lessons they have learned all school year from their “cool” teacher, Mr. Acevedo, but are they mature enough to hand the consequences?

This high interest novel which is the 4th book in the Rip and Red series will appeal to middle grade readers with its message and the fast paced basketball related story. Readers new to Rip and Red will be able to follow the story as it stands alone, but may want to go back and read all of their adventures. Phil Bildner builds a diverse cast of central and supplemental characters as for example Red is on the spectrum and one of their basketball loving classmates is in a wheelchair, but sometimes these diverse inclusion slide into didactic or stereotypes, like the Hoops Machine player who speaks street with a “you be” street slang vocabulary even though her mother is a teacher and the big parent storm meeting becomes a little predictable when the school board goes too far into their punishment. Overall, though a fine contemporary fiction choice that will be popular with middle grade readers and with its mentions of real books, games and movies that kids might want to check out. I would recommend for any school or public library collection.

This book was provided by the publisher for professional review by SWON Libraries.
" said.

" One of my favorite middle grade series comes to an end! Excellent conclusion! " said.

"Many times when I read a series, I prefer the first books over the later books in the series. With Rip & Red, I could not love the last book more!

In Most Valuable Players, Rip & Red are finishing up their final days in fifth grade. There are many familiar characters: Mr Acevedo, Avery, Diego, Mega-man. There is basketball of course. But the way Phil has shown four books worth of growth in Rip & Red and their friendship is just perfection.

I know a bit about Phil’s personal story, and therefore I can see pieces of his life scattered throughout the book which made my heart sing. Scenes with Bubba Chuck I’m guessing are inspired by his beloved Katniss and I love, love, love the story behind how Sinanis got his nickname! Hilariously brilliant. I could totally picture this happening.

I also appreciate the message to stand up and speak out for what you believe in, especially in our current climate, and kids also need to feel empowered. They also need to be prepared for the consequences of their actions as we all do. It’s a great lesson for everyone. Strength in numbers!

This book is one I cannot WAIT to get in the hands of my students.
" said.

"E ARC from Edelweiss Plus
Rip and Red are sad that 5th grade is ending, and more than a little apprehensive about what middle school will bring, but looking forward to the big celebration that will take place. Not only is there a graduation, but there is a school fund raiser that will include the Hoops Machine, an humorous exhibition team. Rip has been selected to go on the court with him and is very excited. However, when required tests are scheduled to be administered during the last week of school, the students start to rebel. They have enjoyed their quirky teacher, Mr. Acevedo, and feel that the tests are not a true test of what they have learned in fifth grade. Unfortunately, the school board decides that the entire fifth grade will be kept from participating in the fundraiser (and the Hoops Machine game) since they refused to take the test. Can the parents prevail one final time at the boys' school?

Strengths: Anything involving basketball is great, and the ensemble cast is full of appealing characters. Mr. Bildner works in a lot of fun activities and school events for the characters, and they all seem to have supportive (and diverse) family structures. Circumstances are portrayed realistically, and there are consequences for actions.

Weaknesses: Testing is here to stay. It always has been around, and polemics against it help no one. This was the one part of the book that struck me as unrealistic-- we have had any number of students opt out of testing, and there are never any negative consequences for the students. I don't think we area allowed by law to assign any. There are, of course, negative consequences for teachers and the school when students who are doing well in school don't take the state tests, but it doesn't really help students to belabor that point.
What I really think: I was hoping this series would circulate more, but it hasn't. Perhaps the cover illustrations are more appealing to elementary school students? I think I will pass on purchase.
" said.

"“Experiences like this change the trajectory of your basketball life... they do, they do. And they can also change the trajectory of your entire life, if you allow it.”

This story, the final in the series, is a wonderful culminating end to an amazing journey. This series has the power to do just that...change the trajectory of someone’s life for the better. Phil just has such a way to bring characters to life and have them be catalysts for change, growth, and the goodness we know can and is possible in our world.

Really going to miss this series!
" said.

January 2019 New Book:

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