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The Wizenard Series: Training Camp

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Wizenard Series: Training Camp Book Poster Image
Basketball and magic mix in sometimes tedious fantasy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Imparts lessons about teamwork, empathy, facing your fears.

Positive Messages

Each person on a team has a personal history that influences how that person acts. Teammates can help each other by being sensitive to individual needs.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Through magic and exercise, Rolabi Wizenard teaches the Badgers about self-respect, perseverance, empathy, and compassion. The players learn how to help each other while developing their own skills.

Violence

A couple of teammates get caught up in a pushing match.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Wizenard Series: Training Camp is the first volume of a new fantasy series created by Kobe Bryant and written by Wesley King. It presents two weeks of supernatural basketball training camp, with the same scenes viewed from five different points of view. Lessons about courage, compassion, and empathy are delivered through action scenes, proverbs, and conversation. The only violence is some minor on-court pushing. Ther's no swearing, sex, or substance use.

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What's the story?

At the start of THE WIZENARD SERIES: TRAINING CAMP, the West Bottom Badgers -- the worst team in the inner-city league -- gather to meet their new coach, Rolabi Wizenard, a mysterious figure who somehow mixes basketball with magic. The boys must complete a series of physical, psychological, and emotional challenges, including facing off against a tiger, playing with one hand seemingly chopped off, and defending a medieval castle. As they complete these supernatural puzzles, the boys improve as a team and learn that playing the game is more than just winning or losing. As camp comes to an end, they will have to depend on each other and their newly discovered talents to prosper in the regular season.

Is it any good?

This awkward combination of sports action and supernatural shenanigans doesn't really reward readers who stick it out for 600 pages. Author Wesley King knows how to construct a suspensful scene, but when each scene is repeated another four times from different perspectives, some readers might justifiably lose patience. The platitudinous dialogue, the lack of a compelling antagonist, and the absence of any major female characters don't help, either.

Although the advice dispensed by the mysterious Rolabi makes some worthwhile points, the stilted conversations between the coach and the kids grow tedious. The Wizenard Series: Training Camp ends with no sense of resolution or even expectation. The message seems to be simply, "Go buy the next book."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Wizenard Series: Training Camp tells the same story from five different perspectives. How can five people witness the same event and have conflicting interpretations of it?

  • Why do athletes need to conquer their fears? How do they learn to face up to the things that fill them with anxiety?

  • Why is teamwork important? How can you develop friendships with kids who come from different backgrounds?

Book details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love sports and fantasy

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