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MOP, MOONDANCE, AND THE NAGASAKI KNIGHTS by Walter Dean Myers

MOP, MOONDANCE, AND THE NAGASAKI KNIGHTS

By Walter Dean Myers

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-385-30687-3
Publisher: Delacorte

The appealing young baseball players introduced in 1988's Me, Mop, and the Moondance Kid (about an interracial New Jersey group, including recently adopted narrator T.J., his brother Moondance, and a girl from the same orphanage who's adopted by their coach) are featured here in a tournament with teams from Mexico, Japan, and France plus their usual local rivals. The winners will go to Japan (how this has been arranged is unclear). Meanwhile, the kids discover that their team's valuable new player, Greg, and his mom are homeless, and T.J. makes the difficult decision to tell his father they need help. Not as wonderfully comic or as tightly structured as its predecessor, and depending somewhat on its established characters, but with a good many strengths: T.J.'s relationship with his dad, who's quick to anger and impatient with T.J.'s ineptitude as a ballplayer, continues to deepen, while he and Moondance face Mom's pregnancy with misgiving. The tension between those who drive too hard to win and those who value fair play ("If you like winning more than you like playing ball, then it can take the fun out of playing," observes T.J.) is realistically drawn, as is Greg's pain when social services take him in care. And the intended audience will enjoy the play-by- play games and their genuinely childlike errors and successes--as well as the ongoing joke of T.J.'s overrating his own prowess. (Fiction. 8-12)