Little Shaq, written by Shaquille O’Neal, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III
Bloomsbury Children’s, New York, 2015.
Early Chapter Book autobiographical fiction, 73 pages
AR level: 3.4 (worth 0.5 points)
I got this book as a gift from a list of requests I made. Husband and I are either indifferent to or dislike most organized sports but the kids love basketball, so I added this title without knowing too much about it.
This book is the first in what is now a series of early chapter books by famed NBA player Shaquille O’Neal (so famous even I have heard of him). Originally I was surprised not to see a ghostwriter or a co-author credited on a book by an athlete, but upon reading the conclusion, I was happy to see that Mr. O’Neal has an MBA and a P.Hd. in education. He also has been heavily involved in the Boys and Girls Club and has children of his own, so he is undoubtedly familiar with the limited books available for early chapter book readers of color.
This book focuses on Shaq and his cousin Barry, who also happen to be best friends. Sure, Shaq might be better at basketball, and maybe even a little better at their favorite video game. But as neighbor Rosa is quick to point out, that doesn’t mean Barry shouldn’t get a chance to shoot for a basket or his turn to be player 1. When the video game breaks during their disagreement, the boys have to figure out a way to earn enough money to buy a new one.