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Kim Tomsic

Saturday, April 30, 2011

How Lamar's Bad Prank won the NEWBERY a book review by Kim Tomsic

Middle schooler, Lamar, is an Indiana boy trying to convince the Hoosier-cult community that bowling is better than basketball. But he's also trying to achieve a lot more...

Synopsis"Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington is the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler at Striker's Bowling Paradise. But while Lamar's a whiz at rolling strikes, he always strikes out with girls. And his brother, Xavier the Basketball Savior, is no help. Xavier earns trophy after trophy on the basketball court and soaks up Dad's attention, leaving no room for Lamar's problems.

Until bad boy Billy Jenks convinces Lamar that hustling at the alley will help him win his dream girl, plus earn him enough money to buy an expensive pro ball and impress celebrity bowler Bubba Sanders. But when Billy's scheme goes awry, Lamar ends up ruining his brother's shot at college and every relationship in his life. Can Lamar figure out how to mend his broken ties, no matter what the cost?

From debut author Crystal Allen comes an unforgettable story of one boy's struggle to win his family's respect and get the girl of his dreams while playing the sport he loves."

Author Crystal Allen definitely handled her business and  HOW LAMAR'S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY seems like a no-brainer for the Newbery (ALA's top award for children's literature). This middle grade novel is laugh-out-loud funny, full of heart and drama,  and packed with voice, v o I C E, VOICE. I can picture writing coaches using Crystal Allen's style as an example of snappy writing, because she is outrageously clever and the master of  many creative elements, like a  Spunk and Bite How-To. The zippy language of Allen's debut book will entertain you on the level of Savvy (a previous Newbery winner) while tugging the same emotional cords as When You Reach Me (oh, what?...another Newbery winner).

PREDICTIONS: Not only do I predict a Newbery nod (as well as a Sid Fleishman Award), but I also predict a blockbuster movie. Lamar has the flavor of Chris Rock's Everybody hates Chris and will win the same audience as Wimpy Kid.  Anyone who reads Lamar's tale and actually claims they don't love it must be drinking  "Haterade." Why? Because How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy is "shut-yo' mouth" good.

5 out of 5 lollipop rating
It's "shut-yo' mouth" good!
How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba Sized Trophy (Balzer and Bray February, 2011) by Crystal Allen $16.99 ISBN-13: 9780061992728 and ISBN: 0061992720
Purchasing Links:
Barnes and Noble
Tattered Cover
Indie Bound
Boulder Book Store

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