Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review: Jimi & Isaac 1b: Curve Ball by Phil Rink

Jimi & Isaac, Book 6
by Phil Rink
Middle Grade Fiction
105 pages

A bigger field, leading off and stealing bases – real baseball! 
Jimi and Isaac are moving up from Little League. 
Jimi thinks baseball is a muscle memory game: you play how you practice. Isaac thinks baseball is just like everything else: the real game is between your head and the head of your opponent. 
There's only one way to find out who's right: PLAY BALL! 
Jimi and Isaac Books are strongly and unapologetically informative! Sometimes they read like an instruction manual, because the kids that read Jimi and Isaac Books read a lot of instruction manuals and non-fiction. They watch TV shows and YouTube videos about building stuff, and they don’t hesitate to tear something apart to see how it works. 
Our hope is that a focused kid will pick up one of our books for the stated subject matter, and then trust Jimi and Isaac enough to follow them into another area of interest. In every book, a problem presents itself and the boys need to learn and work to solve the problem. They fail constantly, struggle to recover, and success is often a less limited failure. The books are short and fast moving so more readers can succeed, but they are not simple books. They’re full of information and intellectual challenges. 
This book is perfect for baseball-obsessed kids!


Jimi and Isaac have been playing baseball for years, but now, they're playing 'real' baseball. Or so Jimi claims. Either way, Isaac seems to be falling behind. He simply isn't putting forth the effort in practice. After a discussion on the way home, Jimi and Isaac can't seem to agree whether baseball is a game of practice and muscle memory, or a game of the mind. When Isaac decides to become a pitcher, things get interesting.

Jimi and Isaac are all about baseball in this book, and not just light-hearted fun. Like the other books in this series, this tale concentrates on the various aspects of baseball—rules, terms and technical aspects—while keeping an interesting story up at the same time. Anyone who loves baseball or would like to really get to know the game is sure to enjoy this story. While Jimi and Isaac play and practice, the motions and game are described in great detail. Positions, throws and even strategic ideas coat every page, making this a very informative read. But it's never dry. The author does a great job of building this in to an interesting story.

Jimi and Isaac come across as normal boys, who have a good amount of curiosity and aren't afraid to take things on to find answers. They don't always agree, but their friendship never lets this come between them. Instead, they work together to find the solutions and learn quite a few things along the way.

Kids ages eight and up will enjoy all the information this book has to offer and, at the same time, will easily relate to Jimi and Isaac. At about 100 pages, the book is great for reluctant readers, and is fast paced enough to hold a reader's interest until the very last page. In other words, this is a book curious kids are sure to devour.

Find out more about the series:

Phil Rink's last book, Jimi & Isaac 5a: The Brain Injury, was awarded a Kirkus "Star" review and was chosen as “Best Books of 2015”.

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