August 9, 2009

Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta

Welcome to Moundville, where it’s been raining for longer than Roy McGuire has been alive. Most people say the town is cursed—right in the middle of their big baseball game against rival town Sinister Bend, black clouds crept across the sky and it started to rain. That was 22 years ago . . . and it’s still pouring.

Baseball camp is over, and Roy knows he’s in for a dreary, soggy summer. But when he returns home, he finds a foster kid named Sturgis sprawled out on his couch. As if this isn’t weird enough, just a few days after Sturgis’s arrival, the sun comes out. No one can explain why the rain has finally stopped, but as far as Roy’s concerned, it’s time to play some baseball. It’s time to get a Moundville team together and finish what was started 22 years ago. It’s time for a rematch.

One of the biggest struggles I have is finding good books for middle school boys. "Girl" books are everywhere. There are countless blogs that review pretty much only girl books. Ones that review mostly boy books? ummm, I'm still looking. But in Mudville I have found a boy's book that I can recommend 110%. Yes it's a story about baseball (ask me how much I learned about the depth of the communication between the catcher and pitcher or the strategy of baseball!) but it's also a story about the one moment that defines you - that sets you on the path to what kind of person you will be. The main character Roy has such a moment when facing the pitcher in a game 22 years delayed.

What I liked most - Roy's pure love of the game. I am not a follower of baseball, but Roy makes me want to become one! His love and understanding of the game takes a bunch of kids that don't always know which way to run around the bases and makes them a team. He coaches them. Helps set up the field. Encourages them when they want to quit. And keeps them going when the entire town is watching. (Did I mention he's only 12?) They are underdogs in every sense of the word - but Roy's unfailing determination won't let them believe it - and you won't believe it either.

Grade A+!!!!!
Lexile 680

Similar Books: Summer Ball, Heat, The Boy Who Saved Baseball

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