cover image Make-Believe Ball Player

Make-Believe Ball Player

Alfred Slote. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, $13 (104pp) ISBN 978-0-397-32285-5

Henry Smith (Smitty to his friends) is an all-star Little League baseball player. He's the league's best pitcher, he never drops a ball and he's one of the best hitters. Unfortunately, the league in which he shines is only make-believe. In reality, Henry can't hit, catch or pitch and won't go out for the team because he's too embarrassed by his poor playing. But one day, when he's in his room daydreaming, Henry's imaginary abilities enable him to save his family's home from a burglar. With this heroic deed, Henry proves to himself that you can't win unless you try, and sees that baseball isn't any different. Slote delivers a fast-paced story perfectly suited for the middle reader. The text is challenging but not out of reach; Henry is a believable, everyday kid, his fears and desires are precisely portrayed and the conclusion is realistic and positive. Ages 7-10. (Sept.)