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Sports Camp Hardcover – April 13, 2010

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375840591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375840593
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—When 11-year-old Riley Liston arrives at Camp Olympia, he quickly realizes that it's going to be a long two weeks. As one of the youngest and smallest campers, he lacks the skills at basketball and softball that the older guys have. Normally, he wouldn't mind—he knows he's a good swimmer and runner—but the cabins are all competing for the coveted Big Joe Trophy (named after the legendary snapping turtle that inhabits the lake), and Riley doesn't want to be the person who takes the Cabin 3 Threshers out of the running. His concerns seem well-founded: during the games, loud Barry berates Riley for his playing, and none of the guys goes out of his way to make the boy feel like part of the gang. But he perseveres, and friendships slowly develop as a few cabin mates begin swimming laps each day in preparation for the marathon swimming race that occurs the last night of camp. Despite bumps along the way, the boys in Cabin 3 hold their own, and the question of which cabin will claim the Big Joe Trophy is anybody's call. Wallace has a talent for capturing adolescent boys' behavior, and while the plot is formulaic and some of the plot requires suspending belief, the story has appeal. Each chapter ends with a Camp Olympia Bulletin, the daily newsletter that keeps everyone apprised of upcoming activities and team standings. Purchase where sports stories by Matt Christopher and Dan Gutman are popular.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

During the bus trip to sports camp, Riley Liston hears about a giant snapping turtle in the lake and other alarming tales. Upon arrival, he starts his busy schedule of basketball games, water polo matches, and a relay race. Interspersed among the descriptions of the games are incidents involving other camp elements—pranks, unappealing food, and strange, unexplained occurrences that may owe something to overactive imaginations. Wallace starts each chapter with the day’s Camp Bulletin, which helps the reader keep up with Riley’s busy schedule. Occasionally, Riley’s insecurity as a smaller, younger kid in the rough-and-tumble camp environment comes through, but on the whole, the novel is mostly a series of descriptive episodes, and readers may feel that they don't know Riley as well as they’d like to. Still, the exciting, tightly written sports passages drive the story and will keep kids turning the pages. Grades 4-6. --Todd Morning

More About the Author

Rich Wallace is an award-winning author of many novels for kids and teenagers. Recent work includes the Kickers series of soccer novels for kids in grades 2-4; the middle-grade historical novel War and Watermelon, set in the summer of Woodstock; and Sports Camp, about an 11-year-old boy away at camp for the first time. Novels for teenagers including Wrestling Sturbridge, Playing Without the Ball, and Perpetual Check, among others. He is also the author of The Timbertoes feature in Highlights magazine. Visit his web site at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darcy Wishard on August 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Riley feels like the smallest kid at sports camp. In fact, he is. He just turned eleven in April, but most kids here are twelve, and a few are even thirteen--and gigantic. It's hard enough for a shrimp like Riley to fit in. He just doesn't want to be the weak link as his bunk competes for the Camp Olympia Trophy.

Riley knows he's no good at strength and accuracy games like basketball and softball. But when it comes to speed and endurance events, like running and swimming, he's better than he looks. He's pretty sure he can place in the top ten--and bring in major trophy points--in the final mile-long swim race across Lake Surprise. But he doesn't count on being followed by the shadow of Big Joe, the giant vicious snapping turtle of camp lore. Wasn't that supposed to be a legend?

Review: Sports camp like any other camp has all the usual "campy" elements....mosquitoes, cabins, a mess hall with questionable food, practical jokes, a bully and of course the obligatory scary stories. The scariest of all? An evil foot-chomping snapping turtle called Big Joe.

Chock full of sporty competitive moments where the underdog is doing his best to win. I like the realism though in that Riley has his share of wins and losses but keeps his determination. This is a great book for kid who likes to read about sports and the build up to the big game or final showdown.

The story is well paced and has enough sporty suspense to keep readers wanting more. Best suited for grades 3 to 7.
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By Ann K on August 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My ten year old son read this book cover to cover in 2 days. He couldn't put it down and he said it's the best book he's ever written. He liked the characters, the plot and I loved how he didn't want to stop reading. Thanks Mr. Wallace for writing a great book.
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