Guide to Juvenile Baseball Books: C
- Carlson, Ron. The Speed of Light. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. Friends spend the summer between sixth and seventh grade learning about the nature of the universe and playing youth-league baseball.
Fiction that works more as a set of linked stories than a single narrative. See Carlson's short stories.
- Carol, Bill J. Circus Catch. Austin: Steck-Vaughn, 1963. A youth-league ballplayer deals with needing glasses, making friends, and playing center field.
Fast-moving formula fiction. "Bill J. Carol" is a pseudonym for novelist Bill Knott.
- Carrier, Roch. Le Plus Long Circuit. Illustrated by Sheldon Cohen. Montréal: Livres Toundra, 1993. Magical girl from a traveling show clouts the title home run.
Translated into English by Sheila Fischman as The Longest Home Run (Plattsburgh, NY: Tundra Books, 1993).
- Carter, Alden R. Bull Catcher. New York: Scholastic, 1997. The journal of a high-school ballplayer's career and his deep but strained friendship with his teammates.
Well-written Young Adult fiction with exciting game action and intelligent use of themes of divorce, abuse, and balancing school against athletics.
- Carter, Russell Gordon. "Babe Ruth's Cap." Repr. The Boys' Life Book of Baseball Stories. (1964). Sophomore third baseman longs to pitch until he discovers a knack for catching.
- Cebulash, Mel. Ruth Marini of the Dodgers. Minneapolis: Lerner, 1983. [Ruth Marini on the Mound] Female high-school pitching star makes the jump to the pros.
Early, Young Adult treatment of the first woman big-leaguer theme that would find its best expression in Gregorich. The story here is matter-of-fact, strenuously avoiding any suggestion of melodrama or sensation. Young Ruth Marini simply picks up her glove, heads to spring training, and starts striking out the pros. At one point, when she gets off an airplane, "There were also two unexpected persons waiting for Ruth -- a reporter and photographer" (109). One reporter and one photographer for the first woman to play organized baseball? But Cebulash's novel is earnest, extolling the complementary virtues of hard work and self-confidence. It's not exasperating, just excessively placid. Two sequels, tracing Ruth's rise to major-league stardom, followed; but the series was short-lived.
- Chabon, Michael. Summerland. New York: Hyperion, 2002. Vast novel of struggles between good and evil enacted largely by means of baseball.
Similar to Quarrington, but for kids; sort of a Harry Potter of the Pacific Northwest, with baseball standing in for Quidditch.
- Chadwick, Lester (a pseudonym for Howard R. Garis), author of the Baseball Joe series, has his own page in the Guide.
- Christopher, Matt. The most prolific of juvenile baseball writers has a page to himself in the Guide.
- Chute, B.J. "Dumb Bunny." (1943). Repr. Fenner, The Boys' Life Book of Baseball Stories. Son of a rich donor is guaranteed starting job on his school's team, and after several gaffes redeems himself.
- Clymer, Eleanor. Treasure at First Base. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1950. Rag-tag team discovers valuable local-history secrets.
Oddly obsessed with Indians, and not very sentimental over their slaughter, in what the novel pictures as an us-or-them scenario. Meanwhile the theme of a team of misfits that takes on the bullies wends its slow way around the historical-treasure plot.
- Cochrane, Mick. The Girl Who Threw Butterflies. New York: Knopf, 2009. Eighth-grader uses the knuckleball taught her by her late father to make the boys' baseball team.
Deftly handled evocation of suburban life in the early 21st century. The characters, dialogues, and situations are fresh, and Cochrane rings subtle but clear changes on old formulas. Read lection's review of The Girl Who Threw Butterflies.
- Cohen, Barbara. Thank You, Jackie Robinson. Illustrated by Richard Cuffari. New York: Lothrop, 1974. A young Jewish Dodger fan befriends an old African-American Dodger fan during the 1947-49 seasons.
Though well-researched and well-constructed, this story of a white kid bonding with a black man seems to project a wish rather than to describe a typical 1940s situation. It may seem dated, but the theme was reworked in later years by writers like Slote and Steele.
- Connell, David D., and Jim Thurman. The Case of the Unnatural. New York: Scientific American Books for Young Readers, 1993. [Mathnet Casebook #1] Tuesday and Frankly, math detectives, solve a case involving odd number sequences and baseball.
There aren't too many baseball juveniles that simultaneously parody Dragnet, Frankenstein, Stengelese, and The Natural while also teaching children how to figure slugging percentages and solve what-number-comes-next? problems. This is one of them.
- Coombs, Charles. "Fielder's Choice." (1949). Repr. Thomas. High-school pitcher gets distracted from team goals by the presence of university scouts in the stands.
Standard no-I-in-"team" message, but the baseball action is implausible, confusing a shutout with a perfect game, and asking us to believe that a college scholarship will ride on either of those outcomes.
- Coombs, Charles. "Strictly Big League." (1950). Repr. Thomas. Big-league pitcher, gunshy after accidentally beaning an opponent, finds himself again on his home-town sandlot, helping kids.
- Corbett, Scott. The Baseball Bargain. Illustrated by Wallace Tripp. Boston: Little, Brown, 1970. Random acts of kindness bring a young ballplayer maturity and success on the field.
Old-fashioned character-building juvenile, but pleasant of its kind. The drawings by Tripp are a treat.
- Corbett, Scott. The Baseball Trick. Illustrated by Paul Galdone. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press / Little, Brown, 1965. Players on a youth-league ball club resort to magic in order to turn their pitcher into a good hitter.
Routine fare, but good fun; part of a juvenile series by Corbett about kids invoking magic in different humorous situations.
- Corbett, Scott. The Great McGoniggle Switches Pitches. Illustrated by Bill Ogden. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press / Little, Brown, 1980. Relief pitcher and bullpen catcher use their scouting skills to secure victory in a Big Game.
Intermediate chapter book with copious illustrations; good of its kind.
- Corbett, Sue. "Fall Ball." In Mercado. Leisurely pace of autumn youth-league season gives shortstop a chance to notice the charms of the best hitter on his team – the only girl who hasn't abandoned baseball yet for softball.
- Corbett, Sue. Free Baseball. New York: Dutton, 2006. Young Cuban-American latches on as batboy to a minor-league ballclub.
Much of the plot involves young Felix's coming to terms with the absence of his father, a baseball star who remains in Cuba for reasons at first unclear to the boy.
- Corey, Shana. Players in Pigtails. New York: Scholastic, 2003. Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon. Fictional "Katie Casey" (her name borrowed from the lyrics of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame") makes good in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
Attractive picture book, vividly illustrated by Gibbon.
- Cosby, Bill. Hooray for the Dandelion Warriors! Illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood. New York: Scholastic, 1999. [Little Bill Books for Beginning Readers] Youth-league baseball team reaches a compromise on its name.
Exceptionally good illustrations distinguish a mild first reader.
- Coy, John. Top of the Order. New York: Macmillan, 2009. Four variously-ethnic friends bond over baseball, even dealing with a girl who wants to join their team.
- Cretan, Gladys Yessayan. All Except Sammy. Illustrated by Symeon Shimin. Boston: Little, Brown, 1966. A musical family can't understand why one son lacks the family gift--till they come to realize that he has a flair for baseball and for painting as well.
Curious version of a familiar theme; it matters very much here that Sammy is artistic and athletic. See Namioka's Yang the Youngest for a later parallel.
- Cristaldi, Kathryn. Baseball Ballerina. Illustrated by Abby Carter. New York: Random House, 1992. [Step into Reading] Shortstop learns to navigate two cultures when her mother insists she take ballet lessons.
- Cristaldi, Kathryn. Baseball Ballerina Strikes Out! Illustrated by Abby Carter. New York: Random House, 2000. [Step into Reading] Bullies temporarily erode the ballerina-shortstop's self-confidence.
- Crutcher, Chris. The Crazy Horse Electric Game. 1987. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1988. Rural baseball star, disabled by a waterski accident, regains control of his body and spirit in the inner city.
The title contest is a baseball game in which the hero has the fullest measure of his powers. He remakes himself via basketball and martial arts, so this isn't strictly speaking a baseball novel, but it's a strong use of baseball themes by a prolific Young Adult novelist.
- Curtis, Gavin. The Bat Boy & His Violin. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998. The son of a Negro League manager is more interested in violin than in baseball.
Lewis's watercolors are wonderful, charting the progress of the relationship as both father and son come to value what the other holds dear. A Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book for 1999.