A Whole New Ballgame (Rip and Red)

Posted on Jun 4, 2016 in BR Library

9780374301309By Phil Bildner
Illustrated by Tim Probert
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 256
Lexile: 540L
Age Range: 8 – 12 Years

Rip and Red are best friends whose fifth-grade year is nothing like what they expected. They have a crazy new tattooed teacher named Mr. Acevedo, who doesn’t believe in tests or homework and who likes off-the-wall projects, the more “off” the better. And guess who’s also their new basketball coach? Mr. Acevedo! Easy-going Rip is knocked completely out of his comfort zone. And for Red, who has autism and really needs things to be exactly a certain way, the changes are even more of a struggle. But together these two make a great duo who know how to help each other—and find ways to make a difference—in the classroom and on the court.
With its energetic and authentic story and artwork, A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner is a fresh, fun book about school, sports, and friendship.


“Rip and his best friend Red, who is on the autism spectrum, can’t wait to be on their school’s fifth-grade basketball team. But budget cuts, a focus on test prep, and a new teacher/basketball coach with tattoos, ear piercings, and a wealth of unconventional ideas are shaking things up. Rip isn’t sure that Mr. Avecedo’s methods will work (on or off the court), especially when he has to work on a group project paired with a hostile classmate, Avery, who uses a wheelchair. But through Mr. Avecedo’s guidance, Rip, who some see only as “the black kid who plays basketball,” and his classmates learn to see beyond the labels society places on them. The book’s messages about teamwork, test-prep dependency, and stepping outside one’s comfort zone can be overpowering, but this warm slice-of-life novel from Bildner (the Sluggers series) engages and entertains even so. Probert’s energetic illustrations match the positive exuberance of the story as both test day and the big game approach.”
Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Publishers Weekly