ALL STAR FEVER
Karen White (Children's Literature) Bus is an average baseball player who wants desperately to make the county All-Star team. Unfortunately, Bus finds it hard to heed his coach's advice to "forget about mistakes and to concentrate on doing your best." Bus has too much on his mind! He's nervous about the All-Star scouts seeing his errors; he feels guilty about breaking rules concerning his bike, and he's anxious about what his teammates think about his performance on the field. Bus learns, the hard way, to follow the advice and guidelines established by adults. In the end, with help and guidance from his parents, Bus begins to feel more confident and positive about his prospects in Little League baseball. Ages 8 to 13.
Children's Literature Data Base
When Bus Mercer, boy shortstop, breaks the rules his parents have set up for riding his new dirt bike, his guilt begins to affect his game. While lacking depth, this one-dimensional story will appeal to avid baseball fans looking for easy chapter books. Simple illustrations accompany the story. (Peach Street Mudders Story series). Category: Fiction. 64pp. Ages 5 to 9. Rating: 4: Recommended, with minor flaws. Horn Book, 1995.
Susie Wilde (Children's Literature) When Rudy Calhoun's baseball career changes dramatically, he begins to wonder if his new second-hand mask is still filled with the talents of its former owner. Author, Christopher's name is synonymous with children's sports books, and beginning novel readers can catch another great story in this, the eighth book of his "Peach Street Mudders" series. Children's Literature Data Base
This ninth offering in the Peach Street Mudders series, following Stranger in Right Field (1997), focuses on catcher Rudy Calhoun, who feels his recent slump is a result of using a borrowed catcher's mask. He can't afford to buy a new one, but when he purchases a used mask at a yard sale, his game begins to turn around. Rudy feels the transformation has something to do with the initials Y. B.--Yogi Berra?--engraved on the front, though his coach has a more plausible explanation. Christopher concentrates more on play-by-play descriptions of Rudy's games than on character development or plot, but the series' fans probably won't mind. Bert Dodson's black-and-white illustrations and the short chapters add to the appeal for beginning chapter-book readers. Category: Middle Readers. Gr. 2-4. Booklist, October 1, 1998
Rudy is suffering an off season in the position of catcher for the Peach Street Mudders. Every day he has to listen to the taunts of his teammates as they comment on his mistakes. Rudy believes that not having his own catcher's mask is at the root of his troubles. On the way home from another miserable practice, he notices that the Turnbulls are having a yard sale, and he stops to see what they have. An old catcher's mask catches his eye, and when he tries it on, it's a perfect fit. Mr. Turnbull points out the initials, Y.B., on the mask, telling Rudy that he doesn't remember who carved them into the mask. Then Mr. Turnbull adds a book about baseball to Rudy's purchase, and Rudy hurries home. When he reads the book, he learns that one of the characters in it is Yogi Berra. Believing that the mask also belong to Yogi Berra, Rudy hurries to practice the next morning, certain that the mask of a Hall-of-Famer will bring him good luck. The rest of the story entertains as it teaches a lesson about believing in oneself. Ages 7 to 9. Children's Literature Data Base
Rudy lacks confidence in his baseball skills until he acquires a catcher's mask marked "Y. B." Rudy's belief that the mask once belonged to Yogi Berra improves his playing. The extremely thin plot is heavily padded with baseball scenes, but fans of the series will no doubt be glad to spend another inning with these familiar characters. (Peach Street Mudders series). Category: Fiction. 1998, Little, 57pp. Ages 6 to 9. Rating: 4: Recommended, with minor flaws. Horn Book, Fall 1998
Christopher continues the saga of the Peach Street Mudders baseball team in his latest Springboard chapter book. Jose Mendez is a great center fielder, but his batting average is nowhere near the .375 that his father hit in the minor leagues. To make things worse, Jose's 11-year-old sister is hitting extremely well for her softball team. Afraid he's disappointing his dad when his hitting fails to improve, Jose is surprised when his father praises his fielding and promises to be more sensitive to his feelings. The play-by-play action is less dominant in this story than in previous books, but game descriptions will appeal to readers anyway, as will the familiar characters. Christopher also avoids the miraculous, delivering instead a believable and satisfying conclusion. Category: Middle Readers. Gr. 2-4. Booklist, April 15, 1992
HIT AWAY KID
Gr. 3-4 Descriptions of strategies, both offensive and defensive, abound in Christopher's latest sports story, and an understanding of baseball terms and plays would be helpful for enjoying the action that is described. Barry McGee, a left fielder and hit-away batter, learns an important lesson in fair play after his sister sees him cheat. Character development has been sacrificed for action and description, but younger readers should enjoy this for the excitement of the game and the typical dialogue of young players. The book can also serve older readers who need high-interest material with easy vocabulary and sentence structure. School Library Journal, May, 1988
MAN OUT AT FIRST
Many times, the way boys enter the independent reading experience is through sports novels. One of the best-known kid's sports writers, this is Christopher's third short novel. As with his other books, sports is a backdrop for issues that could come up anywhere, for either sex. Turtleneck Jones takes a fast-moving ball in the chest, blacks out, and finds that fear is getting in the way of his playing. Ages 7 to 9. Children's Literature Data Base
Turtleneck faints when the ball hits him during a baseball game. Doubting his courage and competence, he begins to play badly and considers quitting, but a self-sufficient blind neighbor urges him to confront his fears, and he decides not to give up after all. Christopher offers plenty of baseball action, along with helpful advice for readers who share Turtleneck's dilemma. Category: Fiction. Ages 5 to 9. Rating: 3: Recommended, satisfactory in style, content, and/or illustration Horn Book Guide, 1993
Woomph! The baseball hit Turtleneck Jones in the chest and he passes out. The physical pain is nothing compared to his embarrassment at fainting and the struggle to regain his confidence. Turtleneck succeeds in overcoming his fear and joins his teammates for the big game. Part of the "Peachtree Mudders" series. Ages 7 to 9. Children's Literature Data Base
Gr. 2-4. Eight-year-old Turtleneck Jones, first baseman for the Peach Street Mudders, is accidentally smacked in the chest by a fast-moving baseball, causing him to black out temporarily. He soon recovers physically, but his fear of being hit again makes him shy away from the ball and miss easy plays. When the coach replaces him, Turtleneck is devastated, even though he realizes the reason for the switch. Finally, he is sent in to relieve the first baseman, manages to overcome his fear, and catches a fly ball at his chest. Featuring the team from Christopher's earlier The Hit Away Kid (1988) and aimed at a slightly younger audience than Pressure Play (below), this should fill the bill for young baseball fans ready for the transition from easy readers to novels. A subplot involving Turtleneck's helping an elderly blind neighbor is also well-handled. Booklist, August 1993
SHADOW OVER SECOND
A somewhat simplistic story, one of the "Peach Street Mudders" series, this tale will no doubt keep young baseball fans enthralled. It addresses a common topic among athletes--superstition--in the tale of Nicky Chong, who wants to break the league record for runs batted in. He's sure that his game rituals are the key to his success. But will he be able to reach his goal after his father unwittingly "jinxes" him? The answer is pretty obvious, but kids will probably still enjoy the formula. Young sports fans will enjoy lingo such as "a knee-high blazer" and "gloved a hot bouncer." Parents, teachers, and librarians will pray that the kids go on to better books. Ages 8 to 10. Children's Literature Data Base
Nicky Chong hopes to establish a league record for runs batted in, but his own superstitious streak may prevent him from achieving that goal. Although baseball fans will enjoy the sports scenes, the formulaic story lacks depth and characterization is minimal. Category: Fiction. 1996, Little, 62pp. Ages 5 to 9. Rating: 4: Recommended, with minor flaws. Horn Book, 1996.
Gr 2-4--Nicky Chong, second baseman for the Peach Street Mudders, is closing in on his league's R.B.I. record. Being superstitious, he feels jinxed when his father mentions the record and is further stressed when someone locks him and a teammate in his family's shed, causing him to be late for one of the season's final games. Arriving during the second inning, Nicky finds his hitting skills haven't been affected by his father's statement, thus diminishing his fervent belief in superstitions. Furthermore, he's able to deduct who locked him up. This title, the seventh in the series, is one of Christopher's weaker efforts. Though baseball is a team sport, which should be emphasized in sports books for young readers, the whole focus here is on Nicky's quest for an individual record. Uncharacteristically, there are a couple of errors in game description. Black-and-white drawings appear throughout this beginning chapter book. For purchase only by those libraries that can't pass up a title by the prolific Christopher. School Library Journal, June 1996.
SPY ON THIRD BASE
Standard Christopher fare, with a minor mystery, a little misdirection, a happy wrap-up, and plenty of baseball action. T.V. Adams, third-baseman for the Peach Street Mudders, is proud of his ability to tell what batters are about to do; but hecklers, teammates who don't like being ordered around, and especially a series of threatening anonymous phone calls leave him with troubled dreams and persuade him to keep his predictions to himself. But after a miserable loss to a rival team, as well as reassuring, confidence-building talks from his father and a doctor, he changes his mind--which leads to a thrilling, last-minute victory for the Mudders; the unmasking of the (repentant) caller; and some new friends. Easy reading, easy lesson. Kirkus Review, 1988
T.V. Adams is not a real spy he's simply a very close observer of the playing styles of his teammates and opponents. Because he is often able to predict how a ball will be pitched and batted, others misinterpret his skill as psychic ability and resent him. Heavy on blow-by-blow descriptions of baseball games and strategy, light on characterization and plot, this slim novel will just barely maintain the reader's attention. T.V.'s dilemma would have been more compelling if his character had been more developed. For fans of this prolific sportswriter, the undistinguished plot may be offset by the emphasis on sportsmanship and the sheer abundance of baseball lingo. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-10. Publishers Weekly, November 25th, 1998
Gr. 2-4 By carefully studying the way opposing players stand at the plate and the way they swing the bat, T.V. Adams is able to predict where they are likely to hit the ball. He puts his skill to use in his team's games with mixed results. Some teammates seem to resent his well-intentioned directions on how to play the hitters, a newspaper reporter mentions T.V.'s talent in a column, and an anonymous caller tells him not to use his ``psychic'' ability in the next game ``or else.'' The lengthy descriptions of the game action leave little room for developing any of the problems, however, and the solutions come too quickly and simply. Children making the transition from beginning readers to ``real'' novels may find a use for this otherwise forgettable effort. School Library Journal, October 1997.
Gr. 2-3 Alfie Maples is puzzled when he sees that the newest member of the Peach Street Mudders baseball team cannot catch or hit the ball very well. He is even more suspicious when the coach asks him to help Roberti Frantelli learn the ropes. Because Alfie is not a star player, he is worried that the coach will replace him with Roberti, whom he has taught everything he knows. Again, Christopher has made his major character a boy with whom young readers can empathize. Woven within the plot are subtle pointers on how to play the game. Pen-and-ink sketches illustrate the action. It's unfortunate that the publisher has again printed the annoying ad on the back cover enticing readers to join the Matt Christopher Fan Club by sending a dollar with no mention of what they'll get in return. That aside, readers will enjoy this story--and it's most unlikely that they'll guess the ending that explains why Roberti is on the team. School Library Journal, October, 1997
STRANGER IN RIGHT FIELD
Roberti Franteli is the newest member of the Peach Street Mudders baseball team. He has not tried out for the team, doesn't know a thing about baseball, and is driven to practice in a limousine. Alfie Maples is asked to help Roberti learn the game. The two become fast friends even though Alfie is convinced Roberti is trying to take over his position in right field. Who is this stranger and why does he really need Alfie's help? Read more about the Peach Street Mudders and their adventures in baseball in Shadow Over Second and All Star Fever, also in the series by Christopher. Category: Beg. Chapter Books; Realistic Fiction; Sports. Grade Level: Primary (K-3rd grade). Ages 5 to 9. BookHive (www.bookhive.org)
Alfie is insecure about his baseball skills and can't understand why Coach Parker asks him to work with the newest teammate, Roberti. Alfie fears Roberti is after his position in the outfield, but he befriends Roberti anyway. As Roberti's baseball improves, Alfie doubts the wisdom of his helpfulness. Roberti is quiet about himself and comes to practice in a limousine, facts that puzzle all the members of the Peach Street Mudders. An unexpected ending will delight young readers, and baseball fans will enjoy the descriptions of the games and accompanying emotions. Occasional black-and-white illustrations aid in making this a good choice for early readers. Category: Middle Readers. Gr. 2-4. Booklist, September 1, 1997
When Roberti Frantelli joins his youth baseball team, Alfie is charged with teaching this mysterious newcomer the finer points of the game. Fearing the new boy is about to take his place as the Mudders' right-fielder, Alfie is pleasantly surprised to learn Roberti is a young actor doing incognito research for a baseball film. The plot is improbable, but fans will enjoy the baseball tips and familiar characters. (Peach Street Mudders Story series). Category: Fiction. 61pp.Ages 5 to 9. Rating: 4: Recommended, with minor flaws. Horn Book (The Horn Book Guide,)
Gr. 2-3--Alfie Maples is puzzled when he sees that the newest member of the Peach Street Mudders baseball team cannot catch or hit the ball very well. He is even more suspicious when the coach asks him to help Roberti Frantelli learn the ropes. Because Alfie is not a star player, he is worried that the coach will replace him with Roberti, whom he has taught everything he knows. Again, Christopher has made his major character a boy with whom young readers can empathize. Woven within the plot are subtle pointers on how to play the game. Pen-and-ink sketches illustrate the action. It's unfortunate that the publisher has again printed the annoying ad on the back cover enticing readers to join the Matt Christopher Fan Club by sending a dollar with no mention of what they'll get in return. That aside, readers will enjoy this story--and it's most unlikely that they'll guess the ending that explains why Roberti is on the team.— School Library Journal, October 1997
Christopher's latest in the Springboard Books series is sure to interest both baseball fans and children ready for chapter books. Zero, whose pitching is frequently erratic, develops the ability to throw perfect sliders after he accidentally injures his throwing hand. The question is, what will happen when he's healed? There's also the problem of finding a substitute coach. Zero would like to ask Uncle Pete to coach the team but worries that Pete won't be interested unless Zero continues to throw great pitches. The tension builds to a believable ending, and because the black-and-white illustrations are more cartoonish than realistic (Zero's age could be anywhere from 8 to 12), the book will please teachers needing high-interest materials for middle-school readers. Category: Middle Readers. Booklist, June 1994.
When Zero Ford injures his finger and is unable to pitch for the Peach Street Mudders, he feels that he has let down his Uncle Pete, whom he wants to be the substitute coach for the next few games. While injured, Zero masters a new pitch -- the slider -- but is unsure that he can throw the pitch when the bandage comes off. Black-and-white line drawings illustrate the book, which will satisfy baseball fans. Horn Book, September 1994