FANTASY BASEBALL by Alan Gratz

FANTASY BASEBALL

Age Range: 8 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

Baseball enthusiast Alex finds himself thrust abruptly into the midst of an otherworldly baseball series in which his team, the Cyclones, includes pitcher Dorothy Gale, Tik-Tok, Br’er Rabbit and Toad of Toad Hall. Wrapped in a delirious, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink potpourri of children’s folk and literary characters, Gratz’s book is a slim meditation about what it means to be alive, mortal, dreaming, waking, remembered or forgotten. Dozens of characters, familiar and obscure, make appearances as players, groundskeepers, bus drivers and umpires, all crammed into this Ever After travel tournament perpetually menaced by the Big Bad Wolf. Few are given chances to use their unique personalities in service of the game, so busy are they in getting on and off stage. Alex struggles with an important question: Is he a real boy or is he a merely a “Lark” dreamed up by a sleeping boy? Poignant, occasional glimpses of Alex’s real-world self, coping with chemotherapy, sickness and exhaustion, offer clues to his presence in the fantasy world: Should he care if he ever gets back? Gratz’s lithe humor delivers some good puns, literary and other allusions and one decent takeoff on “Who’s on first?” But the relatively few fine baseball moments are surrounded by what seems like stuffing right out of the Patchwork Girl, while the meaning of Alex’s sojourn in Ever After is obscured by the crowd. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3463-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2011




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