[Here is a look at a classic from Tim Green. From Football Champ to the co-authored Baseball Genius with Derek Jeter, you have to argue that Tim Green is likely one of the top five authors writing sports fiction for kids today along with Lupica, Feinstien and Gutman. I would love to see some arguments on both sides of that assertion down in the Comments section.]
In Tim Green’s Kid Owner, the protagonist Ryan Zinna shows loyalty, bravery and patience through a range of challenges laid out in this gripping piece of sports fiction.
The first principle that Green wants readers to take away is loyalty. Following the death of his father, Ryan becomes the new owner of the Dallas Cowboys. It would be easy for him, amid his new found fame, to abandon his old friends Jackson and Izzy. He doesn’t. Instead, in a series of events that demonstrate the kind of loyalty we might associate with Pony Boy and Johnny in S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, Ryan stays true to his friends. Loyalty matter. Green conveys that effectively through Ryan.
The second virtue that comes across in Green’s book is patience. The book contains a significant point of conflict between Ryan and his mother around playing football. She requires Ryan to play soccer for two years. He loathes it. He knows, however, that over time his patience has the potential to be rewarded if he can just convince his mother to let him play football. He ultimately prevails.
The final principle that comes across in Kid Owner is bravery. Ryan doesn’t just demonstrate patience at the beginning of the book as he looks to make the case to play football. Success requires him to summons the bravery to stand up to his frustrated mother and convince her to sign him up for the forthcoming football season. As all of us can absolutely attest, it is hard for a 3rd grader to have the guts to stand up to a parent. It takes passion. It takes patience. Most of all, it takes bravery. We see it in this early moment in the book and it gives the reader an important lens into Ryan as he becomes the owner of the team.
Kid Owner ranks highly and may well be one of the best books that Tim Green has written to date. While the plot of the book does have striking similarities to the movie Little Big League (a true classic), there is plenty of original thinking here beyond just a different sport and sports team. If you are looking for a quick read in the remaining weeks of summer, Kid Owner is worth a look.