The Hidden Valley Eagles have the championship in sight—but will chicken pox get in the way?
The Hidden Valley Eagles are on track to make the playoffs. Full of focus and determination, every player is at his best, and the team is working better together than ever before. But when a bout of chicken pox threatens to overtake the team, will their playoff dreams disappear?
Ronde Barber is a record-holding cornerback who retired after fifteen seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is one of only two cornerbacks selected to the Pro Bowl five times. He is married with two daughters.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (August 31, 2010)
Tiki and Ronde are eighth graders hoping for a run to the state championships. However, football fever has hit Hidden Valley Junior High School—literally, in the form of chicken pox—and when players start coming down with the pox, Tiki and Ronde fear the worst: If they get sick, what will the team do without its best athletes? Along with the usual sports messages of teamwork, hard work, keeping the faith, dreams and picking yourself up when you don’t succeed, the novel adds didacticism and narcissism to the mix. Still, lots of football action, an exuberant use of exclamation points and a plot that runs like a footrace for the end zone will keep credulous young readers flying through the pages.
– Kirkus Reviews
In the fourth book of the football series that began with Kickoff (2007), the Eagles junior-high team struggles through the playoffs as the players battle their community’s high expectations as well as chicken pox. Twins Tiki and Ronde each miss a game, but team members step up when the Eagles take the field, eventually playing in the state championship. Like the earlier books, this one emphasizes good values and teamwork on and off the field, but readers who come to the book looking for play-by-play football action will find plenty here, beginning with Kadir Nelson’s cover illustration.