There’s no stigma to “sitting the pine”—being relegated to the bench is all about perspective.
Middle school student Steve has played youth sports his whole life, but now he’s ready to try out for the Spiro T. Agnew Mighty Plumbers (sort of). First, he must get permission to play for the school baseball team from the Power Structure: his dad says yes, but his mom’s a “turbo-hyper-worrywart.” As long as he promises to wear a helmet at all times, he’s allowed. That done, he gets in some practice (sort of) and tries out for the team with his best friends, Carlos Diaz (slow, large, and flatulent) and Joey Linguini (tiny and fast). Tryouts are a disaster, as a line drive to another player’s face leaves Steve with a case of Bean-O-Phobia (fear of being hit in the head by a pitch). Incredibly, Steve makes the team, but he ends up on the bench with his friends. Can he survive the season, overcome his fears, and maybe inspire a smile from girl-jock Becky O’Callahan? Syndicated cartoonist Moore delivers a series debut dotted with scribbly cartoons that is sure to appeal to sports-loving, underdog, reluctant readers who will identify with protagonist Steve’s cynical yet optimistic point of view. Moore’s style doesn’t allow for much in the way of racial diversity—everybody looks white—but he does introduce some ethnic diversity with naming conventions. There is nothing new here, but it’s totally safe.
Diary of a (wanna-be) sporty kid. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)