THE TRADING GAME by Alfred Slote
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The talents and interests of his dad--a successful stockbroker who recently died in an accident--and those of his grampa, who once played pro baseball, are combined in a Little League player. Andy has two hopes for Grampa's visit--that he'll bring Dad's valuable collection of baseball cards, which have been in the custody of Dad's second wife; and that he'll give Andy's team some badly needed coaching. The first part of the book centers on Andy's attempts to swap some of the cards (forbidden, since Dad's will is in probate, outcome uncertain) for a rare card of Grampa's (book value of 25 cents) held by teammate Tubby, a clumsy ballplayer but a sharp trader. Grampa himself has nothing but scorn for the cards that Dad so skillfully accumulated; for him, the game, at which Dad failed miserably, is all-important. Despite his feeble health, and Mom's fear that his long-ago disastrous coaching of his own son will be repeated, Grampa does coach the team for a day, and does it superlatively well--until Andy chooses to lose the practice game rather than barge through Tubby to home plate, and as a result unleashes Grampa's bitter, competitive wrath. Slote plots masterfully here, resolving the suspenseful card-trading sequence with the surprising results of friend Alice's intervention; revealing subtle character relationships through conversations and memories; building from Andy's childish concerns to his real allegiances and affections; and including one thoroughly satisyfing ballgame. An entertaining, accessible sports story with real depth and a well-wrought resolution.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1990
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: Lippincott