Guide to Juvenile Baseball Books: G

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Harrowing look at a kid who, despite considerable psychological problems, is far better to cope with life than his parents and his grandmother. See Joey Pigza at lection.

One stocked with werewolves and time warps, including one of the cleverest braidings of historical and fantastic strands of time in any baseball novel. Very much on the Adult end of the Young Adult spectrum, a terrific read for older teens and grown-ups. See my review at lection.

Strange little yarn, told in the first person by a schoolboy full of outré slang and Latin tags.

Slight but pleasant plot with physical comedy and a settling of the young protagonists into appropriate pre-adult roles. For another kids' book with an inept athlete as protagonist, see Park's Skinnybones.

Pleasant picture book.

Nice illustrations with little plot or humor.

Another entry in the growing list of baseball books that pair a white kid and a black mentor. Gorman is a prolific children's writer, Findley a prominent figure in Iowa baseball and softball circles.

Baseball elements are vague here, as the story is in the service of a socially important message about the value of teamwork and cooperation.

Except that it isn't a family for more than a few generations at a time; by the final story, set in 2002, the objects we have encountered in the first eight stories, dating back to 1845, have become inscrutable mysteries to the last of the lineage. Gratz pauses at some places familiar from Dan Gutman's Baseball Card Adventures (Abner Doubleday, segregated baseball, the AAGPBL), but also in some less-frequented byways of baseball history (King Kelly, Babe Herman).

Highly original, Gratz's novel tries to mesh precise historical detail with a feel for the cultural significance of sport at a time of great change in Japan. The result is a fiction with old-fashioned antecedents, like the early 20th-century schoolbound sport fiction of William Heyliger and Ralph Barbour, but with a completely novel setting.

Green, a prolific writer of genre fiction, spins a pretty good adventure yarn here as a pair of young sleuths crack a steroid ring. The pressures of high-stakes youth baseball are presented vividly, but the answer seems to be that as long as we keep steroids out of the picture, there's nothing wrong with a team of under-twelves getting a big sponsorship from Nike.

In each installment of this series, Zack encounters some off-beat and mildly occult phenomenon.

Not much plot interest here; baseball forms a convenient backdrop for a number of young-hero-makes good motifs.

Criticism: Solomon 

The theme of teamwork dominates a novel that may well contain lots of realistic period baseball action; Grey played college ball at Penn.

Criticism: Solomon

Standard theme, made more interesting because the author was twelve years old when he wrote the story.

The second half of the novel, describing the deluxe trip to New York, flags a little, but the first half is a lovingly detailed look at second-generation kids from various immigrant groups, Americanizing in tentative ways, and, naturally, using baseball to do so.