A new baseball series
Third grader Derek is given an essay by his teacher. He is to write about his dreams and goals, and he states that he will one day be a shortstop for the Yankees. His classmates jeer at him a little, even his friend Vijay, who is on his baseball team, but that doesn’t stop Derek from working toward his goal by doing well in school and working hard on the baseball field. Derek’s parents support him, but make it very clear that he can have lofty dreams, but has to put in the effort to achieve them. To help him, they draw up a contract for him to sign that delineates their expectations for his behavior. The Tigers Little League team is fun for Derek and Vijay, but when the new coach, Kozlowski, favors his son Pete, it is a test of Derek’s character. Not only is Pete given the coveted role of shortstop, but his bratty tactics are mainly ignored by his father. Derek is very concerned about the team, sometimes at the expense of his schoolwork, but he knows that he not only has to do his best despite obstacles on the baseball field, he has to keep his focus on doing well in school.
Paul Mantell always does a great, well-balanced sports story, and this is no exception. There’s enough baseball play-by-plays to confuse me, some interpersonal turmoil, and a lot of information about being a good person cloaked in an interesting story. I loved the supportive and hard working parents—the father was in graduate school. This is supposed to be a series of ten, based on the principles of Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation.
Even though Derek is portrayed as being in 3rd grade; he acts much older, especially with the homework discussed! This is a good choice for baseball lovers.