Guide to Juvenile Baseball Books: T

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Stylish large-scale drawings capture the sheer fun of a squishy baseball vignette.

Sober, affecting story with an upbeat turn; well-handled material.

Drawings that show the heavy influence of Chris Van Allsburg illustrate this mild Walter-Mitty story where all baseballs are magic.

Amateurism and pluck save the day when Ted Strong, "King of the Wild West," confronts gamblers who have been fixing games in the Northern States Cattle League by signing professional ballplayers who don't know one end of a steer from the other. Most of this dime-novel installment is concerned with Ted's ordeal in an oubliette after the rogues abduct him. But to quote a testimonial in the back of this week's issue, "It is because the stories in the 'Rough Rider Weekly' do not have impossible characters and wild, extravagant incidents that it has reached its present height of popularity."

Fantasy triumphs over reality again, as so often is the case with baseball. A highly-regarded picture book for younger readers.

Though not really; the plot drifts into some confusions over which wooden bat the kid is using, one of the narrower dramatic fields even in the already narrow kids-baseball-book genre. One of the prolific "Jake Maddox" series of chapter books covering every conceivable sport, with manga-inflected line-drawing illustrations.

Another in the "Jake Maddox" series of chapter books.

Told as a sequence of short free-verse poems.

Deftly-woven sequel follows on the action of Chief Sunrise. Though the vantage of the Polo Grounds in 1920 lets hero Hank Cobb witness the feats of Babe Ruth and the killing of Ray Chapman, the action comes naturally out of his association with the otherwise unmemorable 1920 Giants. Tocher gives us a toned-down, gruff/gentle John McGraw, still mentoring his young charge wisely.

Cleverly plotted elaboration of the Charles Grant experiment. Tocher weaves history and fiction well in a Young Adult novel that respects its audience's intelligence and provides picaresque adventure to complement understated social commentary.

The inevitable rule in children's sport fiction where the hero or heroine gets a magic assist is that at some point the magic is withdrawn, and he or she succeeds without it. Nor does Pete Penney avoid this formula, though the novel is rather subdued for a magic-leprechaun story.

Historical novel that works well along several axes: multiculturalism, gender, social justice, disability, and just plain sport story (though, oddly enough for baseball fiction, the team is never much in danger of losing any game it plays). Read more on King of the Mound at lection.

Until an attractive young woman writer stands up for him, writing an article about how Joe Palmer "had opened up an entirely new field of hog culture" and endearing him to the public.

Reasonable handling of contemporary Young Adult themes, though the baseball in the novel is not convincing, seeming layered over a relatively independent story of high-school homophobia.

Lavishly illustrated book in a picture series about goose Albert and his friends; a pleasant text in a nice jangling doggerel style.

Familiar story made interesting by its narrative use of spare free verse.