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Miranda Reads Doubles Troubles by Betty Hicks

Doubles Troubles (Gym Shorts)Miranda Ritts reviews Doubles Troubles by Betty Hicks and illustrated by Simon Gane. One of the main things I like about this book is how it tells true things about sports and competition. I liked that the kids in this book did and went through things that every kid playing sports would go through. Another thing I enjoyed was the illustrations in the book.

This is a good example of why you don’t need color to have good illustrations because in this case, shading does the trick. One thing I disliked about this book is how it left us hanging. I would have liked to have known what happened at the other tennis matches even though Henry wouldn’t have won the trophy.

Publisher’s Description:  Henry wants to win the doubles tennis trophy more than anything. He knows he’s good enough, but he’s not sure his partner Rocky is. The advantage goes to new readers as they follow Henry as he helps Rocky  train and, at the same time, works on his history project. Can Henry serve up an ace on and off the court?

Diane writes: This newest edition to the Gym Shorts series for beginning chapter books (second & third graders) continues to integrate sports with positive attitudes beyond the court. There is much in this title that parents can discuss with their children. I wish more parents would take time to sit with their 1st-4th graders and listen to them read these beginning chapter books. Betty Hicks has provided many opportunities for questions and discussions.

Readers know that I believe teachers and librarians MUST read a variety of books to their students, not just fantasy & sci-fi, but sports fiction & nonfiction, also. Many teachers are not as enthusiastic about sports so when they read sports books aloud, they make the experience boring and painful. Please do your students a favor and give the Gym Shorts series a try.


Here’s an illustration from Simon Gane’s blog and from Doubles Troubles. I appreciate seeing a wider variety of the illustrator/artist’s work in addition to their children’s illustrations. Plus learning that the illustrations were done with Indian ink on Bristol board helps me appreciate the artist’s work even more. See his blog post for Simon’s comments on Wacom tablets.