Josh struggles at home and at the plate in this fourth installment of the Baseball Great series.
Buddy and loose cannon Benji is back with more crazy ideas and antics, while Jaden continues her quest for sports journalistic greatness. Josh’s father’s girlfriend, Diane, has faded into the background, and he suddenly wants to pursue his own coaching and recruiting career, dragging Josh with him to Florida from the Syracuse home Josh shares with his mother and baby sister. When his mother loses her job, Josh becomes fixated on a national Home Run Derby that is open to kids in fall ball who hit 20 home runs. The ball not only has to go over the fence, but land in a bathtub and stay there, with the prize a house built by the sponsors, Qwik-E-Builders. The kids’ friendship becomes increasingly important as Josh’s parents squabble over custody and child support, and each has his or her own challenge. Benji is dogged by his new coach to get in shape, Jaden wants to win a journalism contest, and Josh struggles with a hitting slump as well as the distance and hostility that separate his family. Any sports fiction fan who wants plenty of play-by-play will find it here, along with some coaching tips and an exploration of the influence of big business on kids’ sports.
Solid series fare. (Fiction. 10-14)