Casketball Capers by Peter Bently and Chris Harrison, nominated for a Cybils award in the category of Short Chapter Books is a simple, fun read for those just starting out on reading whole books by themselves.
Lee lives in an ordinary house in an ordinary street and like most 9 year olds goes to school. But what is very un-ordinary about Lee is that he is a vampire.
Over the course of 6 chapters, each of a perfect length for newly fluent readers, partially illustrated on almost every page with black and white sketches, we follow Lee as he prepares for the school Casketball game (which to human eyes looks somewhat like basketball). Lee uses his cunning to save the day when the game looks like it’s going to be whitewash after repeated fouling by the opposing team (who happen to be werewolves).
Some young readers will certainly find it lots of fun to imagine themselves at vampire school (and they’ll be delighted to discover this is just the first book in a series). I thought the book contained a good dash of humour and I enjoyed reading it despite not being remotely drawn to vampires, werewolves or basketball. If I had a hard copy (mine is electronic) I’d certainly leave it out for M to discover.
It’s not a scary read (in fact almost from page 1 I was smiling; at school Lee has to learn vapire-ish things “like cloak swishing… Scary staring… Flossing your fangs… and cooking without garlic.” ), and the ghoulish characters (there is also a Zombie and a Mummy) may well appeal to reluctant readers.
However, Casketball Capers didn’t have that body and soul which I enjoyed so much in The One and Only Stuey Lewis (which I reviewed here). Perhaps I’m letting my adult head rule this review too much – after all few 6 or 7 year olds would consciously yearn for “substance” in the books they read. I know M wants books that make her laugh (this one would), that she can read quite quickly to get that hit of satisfaction (again, this book would do that) and that there are more of so she can get stuck in to a series (once again, check!) So, ultimately, if you see a copy of this in your library, do take it home for your reader who is just getting stuck in to chapter books.
Disclaimer: This review represents my own personal opinion and does not reflect discussions or decisions of the Cybils Easy Reader / Early Chapter Book Panel. I reviewed this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher.
This book was originally published in the UK before being released in the US so it is more widely available than some of the books I’m reviewing for the Cybils.