Guide to Juvenile Baseball Books: K
- Kalb, Jonah. The Goof that Won the Pennant. n.p.: Houghton Mifflin, 1976. Cinderella club cops the flag on a play reminiscent of Fred Merkle's.
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.
- Katz, The Secret Portrait. See Hirsch.
- Keating, Lawrence A. Kid Brother. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1956. A high-school ballplayer comes out from under the shadow of a legendary older brother, becomes the team's moral compass, wins the heart of a nubile French girl, and hits a home run to win the Big Game.
An earnest book, not bad of its period and genre.
- Kelly, David A. The Pinstripe Ghost. Illustrated by Mark Meyers. New York: Random House, 2011. [Ballpark Mysteries, #2] Is the ghost of Babe Ruth haunting the new Yankee Stadium?
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.
- Kelly, David A. The Astro Outlaw. Illustrated by Mark Meyers. New York: Random House, 2012. [Ballpark Mysteries, #4] Who stole the moon rock that a veteran astronaut brought to a ballgame in Houston?
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.
- Kelly, David A. The Missing Marlin. Illustrated by Mark Meyers. New York: Random House, 2014. [Ballpark Mysteries, #8] What's up with the rare sea turtles that keep appearing in the Marlins' ballpark fishtank?
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.
- Kelly, David A. The Philly Fake. Illustrated by Mark Meyers. New York: Random House, 2014. [Ballpark Mysteries, #9] Can the Phillie Phanatic be breaking his own club's bats?
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?
- Kelly, David A. The Rookie Blue Jay. Illustrated by Mark Meyers. New York: Random House, 2015. [Ballpark Mysteries, #10] What's up with a ghostly blue light streaking through the Toronto bullpen every midnight?
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.
- Kelly, David A. The Tiger Troubles. Illustrated by Mark Meyers. New York: Random House, 2015. [Ballpark Mysteries, #11] Who's blackmailing young Detroit phenom "Tony the Tiger?"
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.
- Kelly, Jeffrey. The Basement Baseball Club. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987. A rag-tag sandlot team overcome their own fears and those of a new kid on the block to win a Big Game.
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
- Kessler, Leonard. ĦAquí viene el que se poncha! Trans. Tomás González. New York: Harper Arco Iris, 1995. [Ya Sé Leer] Translation of Here Comes the Strikeout, 1965. The story of a kid who can't hit, even with "un bate de buena suerte" – but who learns that practice is better than any possible luck.
Well-done junior reader, both in its English original and the Spanish translation.
- Kessler, Leonard. Old Turtle's Baseball Stories. New York: Greenwillow, 1982. Octopus, moose, kangaroo, and squirrel play baseball and set legendary records, recounted by the title character.
One of the better junior readers to use a baseball theme.
- Kessler, Leonard. The Worst Team Ever. New York: Greenwillow, 1985. No, not the 1962 Chicago Cubs, but a team of swamp animals riding a 35-game losing streak.
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, Robert. Clorinda Plays Baseball! Illustrated by Steven Kellogg. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012. Cow mentors baseball phenom.
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.
- Klass, David. The Atami Dragons. New York: Scribner's, 1984. Family rocked by the loss of a mother regroups in Japan; baseball plays key role for teenage son.
Believable family scenes and cross-cultural insights liven a stock plot.
- Klass, David. A Different Season. New York: Dutton, 1988. Phenom high-school pitcher is bemused when the girl he likes becomes his teammate.
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.
- Knott, Bill. See pseudonym Bill J. Carol.
- Kline, Suzy. Herbie Jones and the Monster Ball. Illustrated by Richard Williams. New York: Putnam's, 1988. Herbie, an "instant out," learns to tolerate baseball under the tutelage of his uncle Dwight and the title object, a sort of proto-Wilson.
- Koertge, Ron. Shakespeare Bats Cleanup. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2003. Convalescent ballplayer learns wordsmithing.
Pleasant, intelligently crafted verse novel which succeeds both as poetry manual and Young Adult story. Read about Shakespeare Bats Cleanup at lection.
- Kofoed, Jack. "Lucky Kid." In Margulies (1948). Rookie shortstop's girlfriend makes a heavy bet on a game; if the team comes through, the couple can marry.
"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.
- Konigsburg, E. L. About the B'nai Bagels. New York: Atheneum, 1969. A boy prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, and as if that weren't pressure enough, his mother and brother and Aunt Thelma take over coaching duties for his youth-league baseball team.
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.
- Korman, Gordon. The Toilet Paper Tigers. New York: Scholastic, 1993. Team of misfits, sponsored by an embarrassing concern, comes together under the tutelage of a strategic-minded girl.
Solidly in the Bad News Bears tradition.
- Kraus, Robert. Mort the Sport. Illustrated by John Himmelman. New York: Orchard, 2000. Energetic young elephant is torn between playing baseball and studying the violin.
Himmelman's lively illustrations bedeck a light cautionary tale about pre-teen stress.
- Krensky, Stephen. Arthur Makes the Team. Boston: Little, Brown, 1998. [A Marc Brown Arthur Chapter Book] Arthur, the cartoon aardvark, goes out for the local baseball team; he is inept till his friend Francine coaches him.
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.