cover image How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball

How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball

David Shannon. Scholastic, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-590-47410-8

The Big Brother of this dystopian tale is Boss, a former baseball star so embittered by a run of bad luck that he vows to outlaw baseball forever. Amassing piles of money, buying control of the media and declaring himself head of the country, he realizes his aim and then some: even the use of baseball slang (``screwball,'' ``hit'') becomes grounds for arrest by his Factory Police. Without the game, America sinks into a literal perpetual winter, until young Georgie Radbourn beats Boss at a winner-take-all contest on Boss's old turf, striking him out neatly and thus returning the game, and the warmer seasons, to a grateful nation. Even Shannon's ( The Rough-Face Girl ) art is gloomy, sometimes oppressive--heavy oils in muted, dark colors and with mostly blurred expressions, save for the grotesquely outsized Boss. The central conceit--that life without baseball is scarcely worth living--may strike all but the most avid fans as precious and thin, and adult points of reference are needed to clarify the story. A ponderous and disappointing outing. All ages. (Apr.)