Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Review: The Super Sluggers Slumpbuster by Kevin Markey

They call me Walloper
because I'm no ordinary hitter.

Banjo H. Bisbash plays third base for the Rambletown Rounders. There is only a week left in their baseball season and they tied for first place with thier arch rivals the Hog City Haymakers. This is the team that won the 10-12 year-old division last year too. The Haymakers have some big players who are big hitters. But the Rounders have a big hitter too. Banjo is better known as "The Walloper" because of his great long hits. So far this season he has had a homerun in every game.

But Banjo doesn't like to be the center of attention and knows that it takes a team effort to win. He is also very superstitious about his routines. He rides his bike and brings his dog, Mr. Bones, to every game, his parents can't arrive before the second inning and the boys each rub teammate Billy's head for luck. When a classmate writes about his homeruns and predicts he will have even more to win the pennant, he is worried that it will bring bad luck. And he was right. The Walloper has hit a slump at the same time as a record breaking drought. For this contest, only the weather is hot.

Having played sports myself and now spending many hours watching my kids play I could relate to this story very well. We've laughed many times over the years at some of our kids and their teammates superstitions. One of their friends had a pair of "lucky" socks and wouldn't let his mom wash them until they lost. We had a long winning streak that season so I was very glad that he didn't have a pair of lucky underwear too! The coach in this story isn't only worried about winning. He is very knowledgeable about the game, he's a good instructor and motivator. He teaches them the plays, encourages them to work hard and have fun. It's refreshing to see in this day and age of pressure to win at any cost. I appreciate the positive themes in this story and the message that everyone can accomplish their goals. The characters are quirky and a bit predictable for an adult but I'm sure they are very entertaining to children. And the nicknames are sure to make them laugh! Tugboat Tooley, Stump, Slingshot, Ducks, Gasser and Ocho are just a few. Share this book with a little person, boy or girl.

Thank you to Harper Collins Childrens First Look program for the ARC.

Release Date: 3/17/09
Price/format: $15.99/Trade
Type: Childrens fiction
Age: 8-12, grades 3-7

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