cover image The Rhino in Right Field

The Rhino in Right Field

Stacy Dekeyser. S&S/McElderry, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5344-06261

It’s 1948, and 12-year-old Nick is chafing under his Greek immigrant parents’ rule that he work at his father’s shop on Saturdays. Instead, Nick wants to play baseball with his friends, even though their field butts up against the town zoo and fly balls can end up in Tank the rhino’s pen, requiring the boys to hop the fence and outrun Tank to retrieve them. After the town’s minor league baseball team is acquired by a new owner, who announces a contest for the opportunity to be batboy on opening day, Nick longs to enter and is bitterly disappointed to learn that the contest is on a Saturday. But when his arch-nemesis, Pete, taunts him about the contest, Nick is determined to find a way to realize his dream. Dekeyser (The Brixen Witch) based this funny and good-hearted story that warmly portrays life as the son of Greek immigrants on her father’s childhood growing up in Milwaukee. Details such as the five-cent charge for new shoelaces bring the era to life, and the conclusion hits the story out of the park. Ages 8–12. (July)