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Ever since local boy Lester Ward got drafted by the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, Tugs Button's scrawny cousin Ned can think of nothing but football. Sure, Lester's younger bully of a brother is determined to keep Ned and his gang from evegetting near a real pickup game. But Ned has a few things going for him: he can catch and sometimes even throw, much to his surprise. And he's got his eccentric Grandpa Ike, who may have less get-up-and-go these days, but no shortage of down-home wisdom to pass along-like that being a football star is less about being big and more about being a team and honing your strategy, and that having friends and family in your corner is a bigger prize than a lucky football ever will be. From the author of The Luck of the Buttons comes another story about a sometimes hapless, always winning family, a kid-friendly tale that scores big points for humor and heart.
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Gr 3-5-Ylvisaker's sequel (2012) to Luck of the Buttons (2011, both Candlewick) is set in Iowa in 1929. Ned Button dreams of being a football player. In a send-off game for Lester Ward, a local football hero going to play for the Hawkeyes, Ned catches Lester's pass, which entitles him to keep the football. But Lester's brother Burton snatches the ball out of Ned's hands, declaring the ball to be rightfully his and insisting that Ned didn't catch it. This sets in motion Ned's continuing struggling to get the ball back from this local bully and prove his worth as a football player. This down-home story will keep listeners engaged as Ned tries to deal with Burton on his own terms. He has help from his ailing but still colorful granddaddy, Ike, and learns that winning a football game is more about strategy and teamwork than muscles and brute force. Sanjiv Jhaveri does a good job of varying the voices, and his easy styling and good pacing will engage listeners. This story deals with important issues and will interest elementary graders who are football fans.-Stephanie Farnlacher, Trace Crossings School, Hoover, AL (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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