Spy on Third Base, The
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Spy on Third Base, The

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Look Inside A third baseman is sick with anxiety about whether or not to help his team by using his knack for knowing where the batter is going to hit the ball. Back by popular demand and newly revised, we now offer the complete Peach Street Mudders series. Young sports fans can progress to these early chapter books about the kids on a community baseball team. All titles are written by Matt Christopher with black & white illustrations throughout.

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    New Peach Street Mudders Sports Library
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    Matt Christopher
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In each of the nine books in this series (one per team member), the story is told from the point of view of young boys who play on a baseball team. Each story portrays typical problems or decisions kids might face at school, home or on the field. Every individual must tackle his belief in his abilities as well as work with others on the tram. These simple books will have readers who are just beginning to read chapter books clamoring for the next book. Although the text mentions the characters in the other stories, each volume can be read out of order or even as a stand alone title. Fans of Matt Christopher sports fiction will enjoy these reissued editions. The sports related vocabulary may be difficult for some readers who are not familiar with baseball terminology and play-by-plays. Recommended

Library Media Connection, March/April 2010

These baseball stories are told from a realistic point of view. They include the adventures and misadventures of kids who are playing on a neighborhood baseball team. Recommended.

Richardson Independent School District's Library Media Services Book Review Program, June 2010

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
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