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Author: Lupica, Mike
[Book 1] Sixth grade is supposed to be the year that Jack Callahan would lead his team to a record-shattering season and the Little League World Series, but after the death of his brother he loses interest in baseball and only Cassie, star of the girls' softball team, seems to understand.
Home Team Novel, Bk. 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 171979
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 64364
Kirkus Reviews (12/15/14)
School Library Journal (12/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 12/01/2014 Gr 4–6— On the official opening day of baseball in his small town, Jack Callahan, superlative seventh grade shortstop and arguably the best pitcher in town, surprisingly quits at the end of an outstanding first practice. Jack and his best friend Gus had expected to be strong contenders in the Atlantic League with aspirations of playing in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. Believing that an earlier tragedy involving his older brother Brad was all his fault, Jack takes a break from the only game he ever loved. This hiatus is short-lived, and he soon finds himself back at the diamond coaching girls softball. Slowly, he makes it back to his own team. Loyalty, friendship, courage, and teamwork are key components in the novel. Jack and his teammates have a falling out after Jack's decision to quit the team before the season even starts. This leads to new friendships with Cassie, a strong female character, and Teddy, an overweight, friendly guy whom Jack protects from bullying. Various acts of courage are displayed by Cassie, Teddy, and Jack. Lupica lays the foundation for a great sports series where friendship carries the characters through tribulations. Middle-grade readers will easily identify with the four friends. Although the story is sports related, this is more than a baseball book and will appeal to a wide variety of readers. A must-buy.—Glynis Jean Wray, Ocean County Library, Toms River, NJ - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2015 Jack’s world revolves around baseball, and he has the loving (and sane) support of his parents in all his efforts. As the season opens, Jack is star player on the Little League team favored to make it to the World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. His best friend is on the team, his coach and teammates are charged up-and now Jack announces he’s not playing. Why? Jack-and Lupica-play it close to the vest, patiently waiting to reveal the motivation that has Jack’s team and family flummoxed: he blames himself for the death of his older brother, a chronic daredevil whose fatal midnight dirt-bike outing Jack kept to himself. In short, he’s punishing himself and probably taking his team down with him. Cassie, a star as bright as Jack on her own softball team, breaks through his silence, keeps him tethered to baseball by arranging for him to assistant coach her team, brokers a rapprochement among Jack and his buddies, and sets him on the road to readjustment just in time to save the season. This is a heartfelt story, neatly choreographed to maximize the emotional tension on the way to the satisfying climax that is never in any real doubt. The frequent heart-to-hearts between Jack, his parents, and his friends that are necessary for Jack’s healing may feel like digressions to readers looking for on-field action, but the family story is a solid one in its own right. It’s refreshing to watch a plot turn on the patient support of true friends and on parents who let their son have the time and space he needs to work through issues on his own. EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.