Free Baseball

Sue Corbett, Author . Dutton $15.99 (152p) ISBN 978-0-525-47120-2

Corbett (12 Again ) delivers a solid and satisfying story about an affable 11-year-old who, as an infant, escaped from Cuba with his mother to Florida. Felix constantly laments that he knows so little about the father they left behind; but he does know that the man is a well-known professional baseball player in his homeland. A talented player himself, Felix resents that his mother, who frequently works overtime and is studying for her college degree, rarely attends his ball games. One day the boy wins tickets to a minor-league game. Hoping that one of the players might be Cuban and know his father, Felix wanders into the visiting team's locker room and is mistaken for the new batboy. In a slightly farfetched turn, Felix stows away in the luggage compartment of the team bus and accompanies the players to their clubhouse across the state. The author credibly builds the ways in which he endears himself to the players—whose long-standing losing streak ends with Felix's arrival—and to the team's big-hearted owner, who, like the boy, has suffered a great loss. The boy's mother finally opens up about the past, providing a satisfying counterpart to the contemporary baseball-focused action. Felix's yearning for a greater presence from both his parents feels palpable. The denouement may be a bit tidy, but readers, especially those who share Felix's passion for baseball, will likely want to stick with the tale till the last pitch is thrown. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/09/2006
Release date: 02/01/2006
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Sewn - 152 pages - 978-0-7569-8280-5
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-1-4362-2978-4
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 160 pages - 978-1-4362-2979-1
Open Ebook - 978-1-4406-3174-0
Paperback - 152 pages - 978-0-14-241080-6
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