SANDLOT SUMMIT by Rick Fishman

SANDLOT SUMMIT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Little leaguers duke it out in a decisive battle for global domination.

Family guy and lawnmower salesman Felix Farley is crestfallen after his team of 12-year-olds, the Rangers, once again falls short in the championship game–even after securing a big lead in the last inning. But Felix’s disappointment is rudely interrupted by a startling telephone call from President Reagan, summoning him to the White House pronto. The Oval Office is abuzz with Cold War intrigues: torpedoes were launched in the Persian Gulf and the Soviet Union’s top brass immediately sprang to action, initiating an emergency blockade. In Reagan’s presence, Felix turns into a bumbling bundle of nerves, anxiously nibbling on jelly beans as he is informed of the seething undercurrents that may lead to World War III. Both sides have negotiated to fight a “surrogate war” in the form of a winner-take-all baseball game. Felix is selected to helm the United States team and the malevolent rogue General Kostlitzo “BoneFace” Zolotov is installed as the head of the Russian team, both populated with players age 12 and younger. But the playing field seems insurmountably biased. The Soviets insist on national all-star players while the U.S. team must employ local leaguers from a single American town. Felix painstakingly recruits and assembles Lyndhurst, Ohio’s finest budding athletes, patching together a rag-tag crew that will need a miracle to outshine the Russian competition. George W. Bush makes a cameo appearance to announce a technical mistake that could cancel everything. But Felix’s love of the game and some positive morale-boosting teamwork overcomes this and several other heady obstacles, all while the fate of the country rests squarely on his shoulders. Fishman’s playful, well-written and imaginative, though at times corny, story for young adults ends with a life-affirming message and the sweet hope of peace for all nations.

Though devoid of plausibility, this patriotic, engaging novel will be a home run for readers of all ages.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
Program: Kirkus Indie
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