Over the Wall

John H. Ritter, Author, Ian Schoenherr, Illustrator Philomel Books $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-23489-7
Ritter (Choosing Up Sides) again draws parallels between baseball and social issues as he explores the struggles of a 13-year-old boy on and off the field. There are many ""walls"" in Tyler's life: the outfield wall he dreams of clearing with a hard hit; the Vietnam monument bearing the name of his grandfather; and the invisible barrier Tyler's father has built around himself since the accidental death of Tyler's older sister nine years earlier. Spending the summer in New York City with his cousins, Tyler is determined to make an all-star baseball team. But Tyler's talent doesn't impress his coaches as much as his explosive temper does, and he is told to ""shape up or ship out."" Led by a tough but sensitive coach, a Vietnam vet, and by his pretty eighth-grader cousin, trained in ""peer arbitration"" at her private school, Tyler learns to control his anger and understand his so-called enemies. The author tackles tough subjects relating to violence in sports, religious hypocrisy and the Vietnam War while creating layers of metaphors that neatly unfold as the story progresses. Although Ritter stacks the deck a little obviously, his powerful lesson in compassion will likely reverberate for readers. Ages 10-up. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Other - 312 pages - 978-0-606-24972-0
Prebound-Glued - 320 pages - 978-0-613-67112-5
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-698-11931-4
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