Fred Bowen has added two new books to his series of sports fiction: Soccer Team Upset and Touchdown Trouble Peachtree Publishers has re-issued his nine other books with jazzy new covers.
Fred loops a little real sports history into Touchdown Trouble, when a team wins a big game only to find out when the players review the game tape that the team won on an illegal fifth down. (The ref missed it.) The history is from the 1940 Cornell-Dartmouth game, which the defending national champion Cornell “won,” 7-3. The Cornell players voted unanimously to give the victory to Dartmouth after they discovered that they had scored on a fifth down.
Soccer Team Upset is about a team that begins to fall apart when some of its best players leave to join a travel team. The history here is from the famous 1950 World Cup game in which the United States shocked the world by beating heavily favored England, 1-0.
Review of Touchdown Trouble
(an American Library Association publication)
In the final seconds of the biggest game of the season, Cowboy running back Sam scores a game-winning touchdown. Later, he realizes that the play was run on an illegal fifth down, and the teammates must decide whether to stay mum and ensure the championship for themselves or give the win to their rivals. Sam, the focal point of the novel as well as the team’s offense, loves being the star of his team, but, believably, he loves how the team works together even more. Aside from padding the story with plenty of walloping gridiron action that will ring true to football enthusiasts, Bowen generates some unexpectedly potent drama out of the team members coming to their decision about the fifth down. Purposeful about honesty and sportsmanship, yes, but this book is still a great choice to hand off to readers who’d rather be tossing pigskins than flipping pages. A historical note recounts the famous 1940 Cornell–Dartmouth game with its own fifth-down touchdown, and how the undefeated Cornell team voted to give the game toDartmouth. — Ian Chipman