Guide to Juvenile Baseball Books: K

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The plot of this novel remains pretty much in neutral till the concluding Big Game, much of it involving the delicate, inscrutable sensibilities of the team's coach.

An earnest book, not bad of its period and genre.

A case for Mike and Kate, sleuthing cousins who have free range of an apparently mostly empty Yankee Stadium during game days … actually if they're in the moat section, that sounds about right, doesn't it. A mild mystery in chapter book format, one of a now-substantial series.

Mike and Kate track down the errant pebble in true purloined-letter fashion. Amiable entry in the chapter-book series, managing to pack in about every bit of chamber-of-commerce local-color information about Houston that's packable.

Mike and Kate solve this Ballpark Mystery by watching the tank till they catch the culprit. It's a fun book that features a puffer fish who blows himself up to resemble a baseball.

Mike and Kate like a guy posing as a bogus imitation Ben Franklin for the crime, instead. But how to prove the phony philosophe's phelonies?

Mike and Kate prowl the Rogers Centre in their pajamas to uncover – and mediate – an Oedipal clash over the respective value of baseball and hockey.

Mike and Kate discover that it's nobody, as it turns out. Somebody's stolen one of his trophies and is holding it for ransom, but that's not blackmail, though the characters insist on using the term. I wonder if the word "blackmail" appears on the approved grade-level vocabulary list and "ransom" doesn't. That's one strange vocabulary list in any event.

Fairly ordinary juvenile with some psychological twists; notable for endless descriptions of junk food and games where the prize for winning is a bunch of junk food. Actually this novel qualifies as rather odd in some respects …

Well-done junior reader, both in its English original and the Spanish translation.

One of the better junior readers to use a baseball theme.

Old Turtle takes the managerial reins and coaches the Green Hoppers to their first victory in a while, in this engagingly-illustrated junior reader.

Kinerk's light verse is the highlight of this fanciful picture book, one of a series about the title cow. When Clorinda hits the pinch home run to win the Big Game, she insists that in the rules of baseball "there's no place / for bias toward species, or gender, or race." I like that attitude.

Believable family scenes and cross-cultural insights liven a stock plot.

A believable narrator and plausible emotional dynamic give way to a somewhat conventional and contrived plot resolution, naturally involving a fiery drunken car crash and a Big Game where the girl athlete will come to the fore.

"You know how Happy Chandler feels about ball players gambling," Jake tells Ann, but she replies that the Commissioner "hasn't anything to say about what a ball player's sweetie does." The story ultimately sidesteps the gambling issue, as it turns out that all bets were off before the first pitch was thrown, but it is interesting to see the theme handled so blithely.

Familiar outline of a team coming together in time for a Big Game (with a twist). Most interesting for its portrayal of family dynamics. Bessie Setzer, mom and coach, is a fascinating character. The book is layered with the painstaking and lovely language that characterizes all of Konigsburg's books; she also illustrates this one with drawings.

Solidly in the Bad News Bears tradition.

Himmelman's lively illustrations bedeck a light cautionary tale about pre-teen stress.

Routine story. Krensky is not credited except on the back of the title page; this book is one in a franchise series that makes use of characters created by Marc Brown.