Connor Sullivan is an All-Star third baseman on his Babe Ruth League team, the Orioles. He can hit and field with the best of them, but he's got one big problem: his temper. When he strikes out or makes an error, he's a walking Mt. Vesuvius, slamming batting helmets and throwing gloves. The coach is ready to remove him from the team. When the sports editor of the school paper threatens to do a big story on his tantrums - complete with embarrassing photos - Connor realizes he has to clean up his act. But can he do it in time to regain his teammates' trust and help the Orioles win the championship against the best team in the league? (goodreads summary)
Twelve year old Connor is the best shortstop and hitter on his team. The best thing about him is that he is humble. Lately, he is finding himself having a temper he's never had before and is exploding on the field when plays don't go right. Connor comes from a good family being hit with troubled times right now. His dad is layed off from his job at a car dealership and his mom is working extra shifts to make ends meet. Money is tight and tension builds within the home as well as inside Connor and manifests out on the field during games. Connor feels embarrassed to admit to anyone about his family's situation. To make matters worse, Melissa the school reporter wants to do a story on him and she seems to be filming his rants and raves. He's worried it will be posted on the Web and what the news story will end up to be. Will Connor regroup himself so he can play his best for the upcoming playoffs?
First thing I can say about this book is that it made for a wonderful change of pace when it came to kids sports. Kuddos for the character Coach Hammond teaching good team sportsmanship and fairness with put-downs and heckling as not acceptable. Although, Connor is in jeopardy of being kicked off the team because he is unable to manage his anger. Many kids find themselves in the same situation when it comes to tempers and the book opens up on the importance of talking about bottled up feelings and emotional reacting to stressful topics. Given the economy today many families are facing these situations and something that also affects our children, even though we think it doesn't. Connors Coach, friends and family were especially supportive and dialogue between the kids was easy and pleasant. He even finds Melissa willing to help him regain his composure on the field. There is a lot of baseball action that will appeal to die hard baseball fans. This would be a good choice for reluctant readers because it is shorter for a quick read and full of sports lingo kids will recognize. This book also sends great messages without being to heavy or preachy. Kids who follow Matt Christopher novels will enjoy reading this new series. Another book will be following the winter of 2012 called Super-Sized Slugger. I think this is a "just right book" for ages 8-12. ~
Author: Cal Ripken , Jr. with Kevin Cowherd
Pub. Date: March 2011, Hyperion Books
Hardcover, 135 pgs.
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