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Summary: This is a story about little league baseball and the impact it has on players, coaches, parents, and communities when adult leaders forfeit their responsibility to win at any cost. Josh LeBlanc is one of the most talented baseball players in the area. His dad, an over-the-hill semi-pro baseball player has pulled Josh off the school team and enrolled him with a traveling team that flaunts the use of steroids. Josh is confused and under great pressure to give-in. What will he do? What can he do? This is another in Tim Green's series of sports stories that are fun to read, but also educational.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, short chapter, reluctant reader, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 13; read yourself: 10 and up
Young Reader Reaction: Baseball Great presents baseball in a way that captures the excitement in the game and depicts it without any obscure baseball terms, but as the same time, without oversimplifying the subject either. Everyone can enjoy the book, not just baseball enthusiasts. The characters are realistic, with actions and dialogue readers would expect. They also represent diverse personalities.
Although Baseball Great has its strong points it suffers from redundancy. Even so, it keeps readers interested. I highly recommend this book to anyone keen on sports.
Adult Reader Reaction: Baseball Great is a very compelling story. Tim Green has captured the challenges that competitive athletes face every day as they try to improve their abilities without use of drug enhancements. It is a story the reader won’t soon forget. The characters and plot are believable, and pace keeps the reader glued to the book. Second parent reviewer: This book was OK. It was a typical sports book — predictable, yet has a positive message at the end. I liked Josh’s character, and how he was developed throughout the book. He was a typical 12-year old who just happens to be good at baseball.
Pros: This is a timely story that every parent, coach, and athlete should read and re-read.
Cons: None. Our second parent reviewer says "This book was very predictable, and the father figure was a jerk, despite the ending."
Borrow or Buy: Buy. The story is both compelling and thought provoking. Readers of all ages will come back to this one more than once.
Educational Themes: The book addresses the use of steroids at all levels of athletic competition. The message is that success in life comes from hard-work and dedication. Short cuts and steroids may appear to be a short-cut but they are only temporary and dangerous solutions. For the parent, teacher, or coach, this book is a gold mine of discussion topics.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation.
Date(s) Reviewed: October 2009, April 2010, March 2015
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