Author: Heather Payer-Smith
Illustrator: Charina Tolentin
Publisher: Lily Ruth Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9832009-8-5

Becoming the best at something takes hard work. People my laugh and you’re going to make mistakes, but the more you practice, the less mistakes you will make,” Tommy’s mother encourages him in Heather Payer-Smith’s children’s book, The Best Basketball Player EVER.

This unnumbered but around forty-five pages paperback book is six by nine inches and has a drawing on the front of a basketball player holding up a winning trophy. Geared toward young elementary school-aged children, there is no profanity or scary situations. The tale is a positive read to inspire young ones to attempt achieving goals and accomplishing dreams. On every left side of the pages is the storyline and the right side has simple, colorful and expressive illustrations by Charina Tolentin.

The tome begins with young Tommy dreaming he is a great basketball player making a two second shot to win the game as the crowd goes wild. When he awakes from his daydream, his mother tells him to go outside to play but he would rather stay in the house and play video basketball where he always wins.

After getting angry at his mother’s admonition about physically playing the sport, Tommy feels rejected and tells his mother he can play the game of basketball. He finds his basketball and goes outside. He tries dribbling it, throwing it and trying to make a basket but only realizes he is a horrible player, especially when neighborhood boys riding their bikes make fun of hiWhen his mother comes outside and sees how dejected Tommy is, she urges him ignore the taunts and to practice a lot, correlating to how he got better and better playing video games repeatedly.

After explaining that repetition increases skill, she teaches him how to bounce, dribble, pass the ball three different ways and shoot it to make a basket. Together they practice all afternoon, learning how to spin the ball on one finger and played a game called Horse. Finally Tommy asks his mother if she played basketball when she was little and she responds, “You could say that I was once the best basketball player ever.”

This short book is a fun way to not only get a child to learn that practicing something improves one’s talent over time, playing an outdoor sport such as basketball is a good way to get exercise and enjoyment.

This book was furnished by the publisher for review purposes.

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