A slug with dreams of baseball glory finds success on the diamond thanks to a modified helmet.
Ollie loves everything about baseball, especially his favorite team, the Creepy Crawlers. He longs to join such stars as Grasshopper Bob, Bombardier Bill, Mickey Mantis and Babe Beetle. But how? With no arms, he can’t very well pitch or catch, and he doesn’t exactly light up the base paths with his speed. His only hope is to become a slugger, but there’s still that no-arms problem. Ollie is nothing if not persistent, though. Equipped with a helmet-mounted bat, he whiffs at pitch after pitch from pal Sammy Stinkbug in private practice till, finally, he clobbers one. Despite not having witnessed this, Coach Roach gives him one try, and on a made-to-slug-order rainy, sloppy day, Ollie drives in Grasshopper Bob for victory and a place in the lineup. There’s not much to make the story stand out; Ollie’s success is a foregone conclusion, and his path to it is so truncated it would be unbelievable even if he did have arms. There’s mild amusement in Slonim’s depictions of Ollie twisting himself into knots, eyestalks crossed crazily as he powers the business end of his bat through a swing. The illustrations don’t follow through on the story’s logic, though, picturing him somehow holding variously a bag of popcorn and a book despite his armlessness.
A blooper. (Picture book. 3-7)