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Lee Taylor.
Richmond Hill, ON: Scholastic-TAB, 1985.
124pp., paper, $2.95.
ISBN 0-590-71518-6. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Baseball-Juvenile fiction.
Insects-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10

Reviewed by Joan Weller.

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

For young baseball fans, science buffs, or readers who simply enjoy a fast-paced, humorous novel, this book is a winner. The plot faces off the Grade 5 Cougar baseball team against their arch-rival bullies, the Pirates. Not daunted by the Pirates' nasty taunts and tricks, Buster leads his team to victory. Loving baseball over homework (especially math) our hero overcomes his enemies with the help of his spunky, intellectual sister Maggie. Her forte lies in her interest in science and especially her insect zoo, made up of fleas, bees, and other slithery bugs. When it looks like Buster's team will lose their game, she unwittingly comes to the rescue in an hilarious climax involving an exciting baseball inning and her escaped insects.

Taylor, a teacher in rural British Columbia, knows adolescents well. She captures their interest, school, and peer problems, as well as their family relationships with real aplomb. The action flows naturally and quickly. Accented with insightful vignettes of sibling rivalry, classroom moods, and realistic human situations, the plot never flags. Excellent dialogue carries the story along to its conclusion. Her baseball references prove the author to be a real fan of the game. We need more well-written short novels for our middle readers. Let us hope we hear more from this promising writer.

Joan Weller, Ottawa P.L., Ottawa, ON.
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