Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Most Valuable Player

Publish August 9, 2016

When Jeremy moves to Nicholas’ neighbourhood, the two boys discover their common interest in robots, biking, and comics, and become fast friends. But at school it’s clear that sports matter most to Nicholas’ old friends, and try as he might, Jeremy is just not good at them. Nicholas knows he has to do something to help Jeremy fit in at school. Most Valuable Player is the newest illustrated book in author Gilles Tibo and illustrator Bruno St-Aubin’s translated series, Nicholas. Past titles include Where’s My Hockey Sweater? and Too Many Books, both of which were short-listed for the OLA Blue Spruce award. Now, in this sports-filled book, they explore the development of a friendship and the clique-y dynamic that permeates elementary school. While Jeremy’s “new kid” struggle is well portrayed, Nicholas never wavers in his allegiance to him, even when Nicholas’ old friends roll their eyes and laugh at Jeremy. Kids who have been in a similar situation may find that Nicholas’ reactions do not fully reflect the mixed feelings that could arise. Nonetheless, when Nicholas comes up with a plan to bridge the divide, kids will be eager to see if it’ll work. St-Aubin portrays character emotion with lively facial expressions and postures. Realistic setting details like colourful jerseys and sports equipment add visual interest, as do lines showing the movement of a hockey shot, a pitcher’s throw, and a batter’s swing. Sports-loving kids and readers familiar with the Nicholas series will enjoy this newest installment.

Most Valuable Player

Gilles Tibo (translated by Petra Johannson)
Illustration EN: Bruno St-Aubin
Scholastic Canada Inc.
ISBN 13: 978-1-4431-4598-5

Jen Bailey
Jen Bailey Jen Bailey is an Ontario-certified teacher who holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Jen’s other book reviews have appeared in Quill & Quire and Canadian Children’s Book News.

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