CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 40. . . .June 13, 2014
Twelve-year-old Tom Poulos is being forced to leave his home in Toronto for the summer. His single parent mom is making him stay with his uncle in Winnipeg. Tom would like to stay home and celebrate his baseball teamís victory, but his mom doesnít want him to be home alone for the summer while she is working. Tomís expectations for the summer are crushed though when he finds out his Uncle Nick canít coach him in baseball (because he doesnít know anything about the sport), and when heís put on a community baseball team in Winnipeg for kids older than himself. Heís happy to be playing catcher, but, after the first practice, he discovers the best player on the team is a girl, and the pitcher throws curve balls he canít catch. Tom is embarrassed, and he wants to give up, just like his Uncle Nick. Uncle Nickís hamburger restaurant has lost most of its customers to Super Burger. Nick is on the verge of selling the place. He feels he canít compete with the new, flashier restaurant just across the street. But when Kelly, the third baseman on Tomís team, befriends Tom and practices catching with him, Tom is convinced both he and his uncle cannot give up. They make a deal. Tom will be the best catcher he can be if Uncle Nick is the best cook he can be.
There are quite a few scenes throughout the book that involve baseball games. The pitcher is not always on his best behaviour, but Tom does score the winning run in the championship game. The other memorable scenes involve Uncle Nickís burgers which end up winning a ďprizeĒ too. Danakas includes instances of good sportsmanship in this book (when Tom has to sit out of a game, he loans the catcher his new glove), and Danakas gives his main characters flaws, thereby allowing children to see a bit of themselves in the story. Sports fans of either gender are the obvious audience for this book.
Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.