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Review of Pass the Ball, Mo!

Pass the Ball, Mo!
by David A. Adler; illus. by Sam Ricks
Primary    Penguin    32 pp.    g
1/18    978-0-425-28978-5    $14.99

In this third Mo Jackson easy reader (Geisel Award–winner Don’t Throw It to Mo!; Get a Hit, Mo!), Mo has found a new sports obsession. The ever-enthusiastic boy has basketball on the brain both at home and at school. Unfortunately, being the shortest player on his team leads to Mo struggling to connect (literally) with his teammates when passing the basketball. “At practice Coach Emma says, ‘Mo, pass the ball.’ Mo passes it to Gail. It hits her knee and bounces away.” After some extra practice with dad and some blueberries-into-cereal-bowl shooting at breakfast, it’s time for the big game. A diverse cast of helpful and encouraging adults and teammates are all on hand as Mo makes the most of his limited time on the court and shines when his team needs him the most: all his practice passing “higher” pays off. The ending is unlikely to surprise fans of this always-funny and often-endearing series, but that won’t stop them from reading and rereading this welcome addition to the easy-reader shelves. Repetitive sentences, ample white space, and a large typeface help make Adler’s humorous text comprehensible for new readers, while the inclusion of picture clues within Ricks’s engaging illustrations aids readers in deciphering difficult-to-decode words such as cereal and whistle.

From the May/June 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Making a Difference.

Eric Carpenter About Eric Carpenter

Eric Carpenter is the school librarian at Fred A. Toomer Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia.

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