First and Ten (South Side Sports)
Jeff Rud
Orca Book Publishers (2007)
ISBN 9781551436906
Reviewed by Brianne Plach (age 10) for Reader Views (4/08)

Sometimes there’s more to life than just being a football player. Sometimes we have to tackle more difficult situations than just playing a game with a piece of pigskin.

Matt Hill is excited to be a part of his football team but he has found himself in some sticky situations. Off the field, he has to try and build a relationship with his father who has suddenly appeared after ten years of being absent in his life. Matt also is trying to be the best friend and teammate to Ricky who is dealing with a father who gives him too much attention but the right kind of attention. Which is worse — having a dad who was gone and came back or having a dad who is too aggressive? Should both boys look to Coach Reynolds as a role model when dealing with father issues? He’s a man, will that help?

“First and Ten” will certainly score a touchdown for football fans and young readers, ages 8-12. We all have to make decisions both on and off the field. Jeff Rud will score many points with young readers who enjoy a good book about one of their favorite sports. This is a very well-written story with good lessons in succeeding on and off the field.   I hope Jeff Rud has already kicked off his next book in this series, its one you won’t want to miss!

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