Game Day (review)
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Reviewed by
Barber, Tiki Game Day; by Tiki and Ronde Barber with Robert Burleigh; illus. by Barry Root. Wiseman/Simon, 200532p ISBN 1-4169-0093-4$16.95 Ad 6-9 yrs

The authors, twins who currently enjoy professional careers in the NFL, recount what seems to be an autobiographical episode from their childhood days on the Roanoke Cave Spring Vikings, when Ronde did the yeoman work as a blocker and Tiki got the glory of long touchdown runs. Ronde does a fair job of curbing his jealousy, and Tiki is fully aware that he's not a one-man show, but there's a strain nonetheless when reporters shine the spotlight on one boy and not the other. The tables turn when Ronde injures his ankle and sits out a game; without his brother's presence as a blocker, Tiki can't make the big plays, and the entire team realizes the value of each individual player. Upon Ronde's return to the field, the coach devises a spin on their "Old Bread and Butter" play, and the unsung hero gets to carry in his first TD. With some authorial assistance from Robert Burleigh, the text clips along with plenty of gridiron action and flashes of neatly turned prose: "Finally in the fourth quarter the Vikings slowly ground their way to a winning touchdown. But where were Tiki's long gainers? Not today, not today." The teamwork message, though undeniably valuable, often intrudes clumsily, and Root's watercolor and gouache artwork, which dapples each spread in a fuzzy haze, works more successfully in action scenes than in closeups of individuals. Still, the Barbers can boast credibility with a young audience, and Buccaneers and Giants fans should enjoy a glimpse of their heroes "back in the day."