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|Rhino in right field|
Author: DeKeyser, Stacy
In 1948, Nikko Spirakis, twelve, loves baseball but must get past his hard-working immigrant parents--and the rhino in the outfield--to become a batboy for the local minor league team.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 197788
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.50
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 75065
Kirkus Reviews (+) (05/01/18)
School Library Journal (05/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/06/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2018 Gr 3–5—Going to Greek school and working at his dad's store are part of 12-year-old Nick Spirakis's routine, but baseball is everything to him. Nick is excited to enter a competition to become "batboy-for-a-day" for the local adult minor league baseball team, the Mudpuppies, but it takes place on a weekend when Nick is supposed to help out in at the store. Complicating matters is Tank the Rhino, the 2,000-pound rhinoceros who lives in the city zoo adjacent to the field where Nick and his friends play ball. Nick is petrified of the creature. In order to enter the contest, Nick will have to lie and manipulate his friends and family. The details about Greek culture enrich the story. DeKeyser skillfully melds historical details of 1948 Milwaukee with fast-paced action and humor, giving readers a window into life in that era. Themes involving parental expectations, friendly competition among peers, and learning to find the right balance between family and social circles make this accessible and relatable. The author's note explains that Nick's story and historical era details are loosely based on DeKeyser's own father's life. VERDICT A recommended purchase for large middle grade collections. Hand to readers looking for historical fiction or baseball tales.—Eva Thaler-Sroussi, Needham Free Public Library, MA - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 07/01/2018 It’s not the first time Nick Spirakis has had to run away from a charging 2,580-pound rhinoceros while playing right field. It’s 1948, and his neighborhood pickup game plays daily inside the city zoo. What is new is that the local professional team was just bought, and the new owner is holding a “Mudpuppy for a Day” batboy contest, where the winning boy will wear the official team uniform and join professional players on the field. Every boy in town is entering. When Nick’s parents insist he work the day of the contest, Nick feels his rebellious side rear up for the first time. He would do anything to enter . . . but at what price? Inspired by her father’s own story, DeKeyser’s ’40s-era baseball world is accessible, detailed, and charmingly genuine. In addition to being a sweet story, there is nice moral messaging, earnest inclusion of family values, terrific representation of the first-generation Greek-immigrant experience, and even shades of gender equality tucked inside. There’s not quite enough conflict for it to be a page-turner, but it’s still a solid home run. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.