Guide to Juvenile Baseball Books: I

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An effective technique; comes with flashcards to reinforce its presentation.

This is a cute book, full of wordplay and exquisite drawings by Tripp. Amelia Bedelia's cluelessness is a bit much, I think: she is not exactly an empowered woman.

Well-crafted short novel that won many state children's-book-list mentions. Has in common with a few other kids' books the theme of a hopeless athlete, as well as the theme that being bad at sports isn't all that bad. See also Giff's Left-Handed Shortstop.

Sharp and accurate use of scoresheet techniques, but a loosely organized plot yoking very general treatment of the war to very familiar incidents from baseball history, resulting in somewhat diffused energies.

Brisk, enjoyable fiction with some of the curious obsessions of the genre: the promising boy dying young, WW2 veterans, the supernatural.

A picture book where the texts are actually a song lyric by Paxton; sheet music is included in the endpapers.

This Young Adult novel's situations seem a bit forced, not to say contrived.

Not her brother's equal as a ballplayer, Donna nevertheless acquits herself well in the game, but her reward is not a roster spot; instead, she is made manager (in the towels-and-water-bucket sense). An interesting foray into (and back out of) feminism for 60s preschoolers.

Along the way, Tom learns that "graduates of various universities make a practice of practically buying the services of preparatory-school athletes." He leads a grass-roots student-athlete rebellion against corrupt recruiters. Tom's own dean tries to sweep Haledon's corruption under the carpet, and is only called to account by solidarity among honest students. The "big game" of the title is actually a football game, played the fall after Tom has excelled at spring baseball and crew. In this contest, newly-clean Haledon beats Durham College, "notorious for her methods in securing athletes."

Sharp portrayal of racism here gives the story an unusual edge, but rosy feelings soon overwhelm the story and its characters. As so often, baseball is the ticket to becoming an American.

Cartoons mix with text in this lively transitional early reader.

Full of standard motifs: the talisman, the nerdy kid who plays the percentages, the tepid gang rivalries of 1950s young-adult fiction. The title implement doesn't make an appearance till 30 pages from the end of the book.

Interesting development of father-son dynamics in a story that takes place in the time it takes for a pop fly to fall.

An interesting portrayal of multicultural misunderstandings and longings; as usual, the spell of baseball--here in the form of memories of Jackie Robinson and a home run by Cal Ripken that shatters the protagonist's matzah--helps to unify the various characters and give them a common purpose.

This one plays the two-roads-diverging-in-a-yellow-wood theme for more than it's worth.

Nicely-done early reader that captures the hurt and hope of being left out.

Amiable chapter book.

First entry in a short-lived series. Competent if ordinary; it's nice to see girls in roles that series novels used to reserve for boys.