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The StupendousDodgeball Fiasco

Book Reviews

Children's Literature
"Have you ever wanted to run away and join the circus? Well, Phillip wants to run away FROM the circus! Phillip doesn't want to be just a circus act like his parents. He wants to do something normal. He moves in with his aunt and uncle. However, he finds out that this new town is a not-so-ordinary place. Dodgeball has consumed activities and lives of the townspeople. Phillip tries to fit in but ends up being a misfit again. He doesn't mean to get into trouble but he just does. The biggest trouble he faces is when he stands up to the school bully after a dodgeball game. As a result, he ends up taking on the whole town in court! This brave boy uses some unique ways to make a town learn about responsibility, fairness, and what is best for everyone. Read about how the whole town is suddenly "hit" with the truth about dodgeball. Phillip and his friends learn a lesson about what really matters to them. This book will keep the reader interested from one chapter to the next to see what new escapades Phillip will get into. This well written book will keep children fascinated and anxious to know what will happen next. Children will love reading this for fun. Teachers may want to use it to help teach diversity in their classrooms."
----------------Children's Literature - Cathi I. White

South Sound Book Review Council
Considering this is Repka's first book, I am very impressed. This has all the makings of a very popular book, both with students and teachers, but also with parents. The book is written very simple, with lots of different values going on. For instance, lots of information about circuses is presented, especially as a little sidebar at the beginning of each chapter. The trivia is interesting. The feelings that Philip has as being the new kid at school are universal. The ways in which he is teased can have a profound effect on kids--running away, hiding, getting angry, etc. However, he deals with it in a way that lets him rise from victim to hero. How bullying is perpetuated from generation to generation, and how painful it is. This book deals with growing up, making friends, moving around alot, trying to fit in, family relationships, and more. It is written in an upbeat, clean style that will appeal to many students. I can't wait for more from this budding writer. -----------------Reviewer Carol Hahn

School Library Journal
Grade 4-6–Phillip Stanislaw, black sheep of his circus family, convinces his parents to let him stay with his Aunt Veola and Uncle Felix in Hardingtown, the unofficial Dodgeball Capital of the World. The 11-year-old soon discovers that a "normal life" isn't necessarily problem-free. Gym class at Hardingtown Middle School is a never-ending monotony of the town's favorite sport, made worse by both the merciless coach and the school bully/dodgeball champ. Phillip wants to protest the violent sport and decides the best way to do so is in court. With the help of a blind lawyer, he takes on the town's beloved pastime, in the process learning to appreciate his background. While the book is not entirely believable (dodgeballs fall from the sky and hit the judge on the head at a crucial moment), its subject matter (sports, bullies, and circuses) couldn't be more appealing to kids, and the humorous situations will keep the pages turning. Most of the characters achieve respectable depth, and readers will cheer Phillip's desire to stand up for others and improve his school's morale. Pair this with Carol Gorman's Dork on the Run (HarperCollins, 2002) or Doug Wilhelm's The Revealers (Farrar, 2003) for a bullying bibliography that kids will gladly read. Or, try giving it to fans of Kate Klise's Trial by Journal (HarperCollins, 2001) for another dose of kids in courtroom drama.–Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT