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Airball: My Life in Briefs
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2008
"Airball: My Life in Briefs," is about Kirby Nickel, a 7th grader who lives with his grandmother and has never seen his mom or dad. Kirby is the Captain of his 7th grade basketball team, and the book tells the story about Kirby and his team as they go through their season with the hope of visiting their hero Brent McGrew. Kirby wants to meet Brent because he thinks that Brent is his dad.
The book starts out at basketball practice and the coach announces that if they have a good season that he will take them to see Brent McGrew when he gets his jersey retired at the University of Kansas. Brent is a famous NBA basketball player who played in Kirby's town when he was younger. Everyone is excited about possibly seeing Brent McGrew, but they are not sure if they will be able to because the team has not been good since Brent McGrew played there. Kirby's coach also was not sure that they would be able to win, so he came up with a plan to have them practice in their underwear.
That week the coach orders uniforms, but he doesn't give it to the team. Instead he makes them practice in their underwear until they get better at basketball and they become a team. They start to play better so for their first game, the coach gives them really nice uniforms. Kirby and his team like the uniforms, but they don't play very well. At halftime, Kirby said that they don't deserve to wear the uniforms so they take their uniforms off and play in their underwear for the second half. In the second half, they come back and win the game so they decide to wear underwear as their uniform for the rest of the season and they win all of their games without their uniforms.
During the season, Kirby finds some clues that Brent McGrew may be his Dad. In Kirby's attic, he found a Brent McGrew jersey, a medal, and a picture of his mom and Brent dancing. He also realized that he and Brent had the same birth mark. So, at the end of the season, when they meet Brent McGrew, Kirby gives him an envelope with all of the clues showing that Brent might be his dad. Brent said that he wasn't the guy in the picture, but the coach took a look at the pictures and said that they were pictures of him. He then realized that he was Kirby's dad. They were happy after that and the book ended with Kirby and his team scrimmaging again Brent McGrew.
I recommend this book to other kids my age because I like basketball and it was funny.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2005
This book is delightful. I chuckled, grinned, laughed out loud, and empathized with each character in turn. Kirby Nickel is a seventh grader who lives in Stuckey Kansas, population 334, a basketball crazy town. Kirby is clumsy and nerdy, shunned by jocks, terrified of his P.E. coach, an orphan raised by his grandmother. He's the self-described worst basketball player ever. Stuckey is the hometown of Kansas

University hero and NBA icon Brett McGrew. Stuckey has not had a winning season since McGrew was in school and Coach Mike Armstrong is determined this year will end that losing streak. Most boys in Stuckey dream of basketball scholarships, playing for Kansas University, then heading off to the NBA like their hero, McGrew. Kirby dreams of riding the bench with cool confidence, of injuries to keep him off the team, and of locating a father who disappeared before he was born. He believes Brett McGrew is his father. But will McGrew

reject him? Kirby knows too well that sometimes the thing you want the most in the world doesn't want you back.

K.U. is retiring McGrew's jersey and invites the 7th grade team from Stuckey to participate. Kirby's team members are seriously bad players. To boost their confidence and enhance

team spirit, Coach Armstrong presents the boys with invisible "stealth uniforms". In other words, they practice in their underwear. To Kirby's surprise, he's elected team captain, a position he takes seriously. The boys improve dramatically while practicing in their underwear. They learn to function as a team, thanks to Kirby's influence and the stealth uniforms.

The characters in Airball are perfection, presented with humor and compassion as each learns the value of teamwork, friendship, equality, and hope while playing skivvy basketball. Kirby is an appealing character. Coach Armstrong is a strong role model who sympathizes with the team because he has his own secret dreams and disappointments. And Kirby's teammates are typical boys longing for acceptance and striving to excel. Airball is perfection and highly recommended.
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on August 27, 2005
This book is hilarious! I laughed so hard I thought I was going to wake the entire house. And, every time I stopped, I turned the page and laughed again.

Poor Kirby! Kirby loves basketball as much as everyone in his basketball-crazy Kansas town. The problem? He isn't very good. But, he must make the team and have a winning season if he wants a chance to go to Allen Fieldhouse to participate when KU retires the jersey of Stuckey's own future-NBA-Hall-of-Famer, Brett McGrew.

Kirby thinks McGrew is his dad and it's Kirby's and only chance to meet him. But, first--he and the rest of the seventh grade team must live through the coach's extreme coaching tactics: Stealth Uniforms. Yes, they're playing in their undies!

If you've ever experienced life in a small town that revolves around youth or college sports--a town where the youth sport IS their "professional" team, you'll appreciate this book. Mix in the coach's new uniforms (Emperor's New Clothes-style), a boy who risk just about anything (including the humiliation of playing basketball in his underwear) to meet his long-lost father, a trouble-making cousin who helps Kirby become captain of the team, the thrill of victory and some harmless nosing around to find proof that McGrew is his dad and you have a recipe for a great afternoon of rural basketball reading fun!

A clean, fun book for anyone who can read at the middle grade level or higher. No profanity or sexual content that I recall--just boys parading around in their briefs! A great fall, back-to-school read!
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on June 6, 2006
This book was great it kept me wondering what was going to happen next, and If you like basketball you will love the book Air Ball my life's in briefs.

The book Air ball my life's in briefs is about a boy named Kirby Nickel, who grew up in a basketball loving city, but the thing is he didn't really like it. Kirby thinks that the Kansas City star Brett McGrew is his father. Kirby and his friend Bragger find evidence to prove it. They go through so much trouble trying to find out the truth. Kirby had to try out for the basketball team, and his friend Bragger voted him for team captain, and Kirby couldn't turn it down. But the only way he could meet Brett McGrew was he had to be the leader of the team. Kirby didn't want to be captain for the fact that he didn't know one thing about basketball, and he didn't want to deal with the coach. At the end of the book you will never guess who his dad is.
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on July 8, 2009
Kirby Nikel loves basketball. However he can't play basketball. Kirby joins the basketball team when he learns their seventh grade team will get to meet his idol and former school alumni, Brett McGrew. This meeting is very important because Kirby is sure that he has all the clues to prove that Brett McGrew is his father. The one thing that stands in his way is the school board. They have informed the coach that there will be no team or meeting Brett McGrew if the team can't win the first game of the season. Between the coach and Kirby things just might work out.
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on February 8, 2013
Nice book for a boy that is 8 years old. I got it for my son that likes basketball and he is enjoying it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2013
My son's class is reading this in their English class. It is a horrible book for that purpose. First, although I am all for funny fictional stories, this one crosses a line of acceptability and believably in this day and age.

The book has a similar attitude towards grammar as the Junie B Jones series: using bad grammar to make the voice of the book "authentic". It works in Junie B's books (although irritating), but is far more annoying in a book aimed at older grade school students.

If your child knows basketball really well, then they might get some enjoyment out of the book. However, if your family is not a sports family, this book is simply torture. There are an abundance of references and inferences that assume you know basketball (and some football) inside and out. The author also uses an plethora of weak metaphors and similes to carry her story, and if you are trying to parse through them with a kid on the autistic spectrum (literal thinker), along with trying to get a grasp of what is actually happening (all of the tedious descriptions of the ball handling/strategy/game play), it is just a miserable experience.

I have lived in Kansas for 40-ish years, so I understood some of the other references easily, but if you aren't from around here, there would be another level of inferences to deal with too.

Not a fan.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
Airball: My Life in Briefs is a hysterical account of a seventh grade basketball team. My 12 year old grandson loved it. I loved it. There are points in it where you laugh out loud. I couldn't read at times because I was laughing so much. The scenes are described to perfection and you can just imagine being courtside. It's a refreshing look at the trials and tribulations of a young team and their road to success. A great read for students and families.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2011
First of all, let me say that there is much to like about this book - interesting characters, some funny lines, and some very perceptive comments on life: "Sometimes thinking about what might be, what's potentially possible in some far-off future, is better than finding out the thing you want most in the world doesn't want you back." And talking about a woman's lousy cooking: "Criticism just leads to more creativity on her part..."

What bothered me, however, was the premise that a coach could cover the windows in a gym and ask his boys (himself included) to practice basketball in their underwear, and actually get away with it; that strikes me as foolish beyond words in this day and age. If something like that had actually happened, the coach would be called before the school board and fired at once. If the boys had actually paraded out on the court during a game dressed only in their skivvies (coach included, again) they would be suspended. I can just imagine what the parents would say. And I don't see this trend catching on all over the country as it did in this book. That may have worked in Frindle, but not here.

I realize that we need to have a willing suspension of disbelief to approach fiction, but this otherwise clever book went too far beyond what I am willing to believe.
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