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Free Baseball Hardcover – February 2, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition (February 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525471200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525471202
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,414,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–An engaging, well-written story with a satisfying ending. As the son of a Cuban superstar, 11-year-old Felix Piloto has baseball in his blood. He would give anything to be like his father, or know more about him, but his mother wont reveal anything beyond the fact that he risked his life and career to get his wife and baby to America. While attending a local Florida league game, the visiting team mistakes Felix for its batboy. He jumps at the chance to hang out with real ballplayers and hopes to discover more information about his dad. Corbetts love of the game serves her well. The story has an authentic feel, not just in relation to the game, but to the game as it is played in the minor-league ballparks of Florida, where careers are hatched or buried. Felixs journey to discovery is sensitively portrayed, particularly as it conflicts with his mothers efforts to provide the life his father envisioned. The supporting characters are a mixed bag of those who aid Felix and those who get in the way. Baseball terms and Spanish words are seamlessly woven into the text and defined in glossaries. This book will predominantly appeal to fans of the sport, even though it is about so much more.–Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Corbett remains carefully true to Felix’s view and interpretation of events and deftly weaves a moving coming-of-age story with a sweet, satisfying conclusion."—Kirkus Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
Felix, who is a huge baseball fan and a great player himself, is in heaven.
KidsReads
I thought the book was very interesting, it had a lot of sadness and happiness which made it such a good book.
TAYL0RDAY1234 (:
I love this book I have read it over and over its a awesome book for kids to read ...
Mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on February 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Felix Piloto is the son of a famous baseball player in Cuba. He knows that his father risked everything to send him and his mother to America, but he doesn't know when his father will be able to join them in Florida. One day Felix wins free tickets to a minor-league game. He sneaks into the locker room to ask one of the Cuban players about his father and is mistaken for their new batboy. He impulsively stows away in the luggage compartment of the bus and wakes up in West Lauderdale, Florida, miles away from home.

Felix, who is a huge baseball fan and a great player himself, is in heaven. He endears himself to the entire team and even helps them break their losing streak. He wants to stay with the team forever, but knows he can't.

Sue Corbett, the author of 12 AGAIN, delivers a home run with her second middle-grade novel. Felix Piloto is a richly drawn character, full of contradictions; vulnerable yet assertive, agreeable yet stubborn. The book even contains a helpful glossary of baseball terms and Spanish phrases.

I am not a huge baseball fan, but I loved this story. Corbett has hit the ball out of the park with FREE BASEBALL.

--- Reviewed by Renee Kirchner (renee.kirchner@usa.net)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Kid's Review on February 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
you will love this book. Young baseball player Felix Piloto runs away from his annoying babysitter to become the batboy of a minor league team, The Miracle. In his journey, he learns more about the father he never knew, becomes friends with the entire baseball team, and meets a magical dog, Homer. This is a really good book and you've got to read it. It is a little sad sometimes but it is funny too like when Felix has to go to the store for the team to buy a bat stretcher!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Free Baseball By: Sue Corbett

Free Baseball was I warm story about I Cuba boy who escaped. Felix, the boy, was the main character in this great story. Felix was a boy whose dad was a Cuba baseball star, and dreamed about nothing but baseball. Sue Corbett wrote this story well, and I really treasured it.

One part I liked was the part where Felix had just escaped on the bus. He ran away from his "evil" babysitter and was named the new ball boy of the opposing team. Felix slides in a small compartment and hides till the bus stops. Felix realizes it was foolish to do it because it got hot and un-cozy.

The next part I really liked is when he met the team mascot who was a dog named Miracle. Miracle was really important to the team because he was the only reason fans came to the games. He would run around the bases when one of the players hit a homerun. He also lived right in the stadium and could catch fly balls.

The last part was when Felix met a Cuban named Diaz. Diaz didn't speak much English but understood what people were talking about. Felix and Diaz became kind of best friends while Felix was a run away. Diaz was known as the team slugger and was one of the newer players. Diaz also said he met Felix's dad.

In conclusion Free Baseball was an about a boy named Felix who ran away from home during a baseball game. Felix was soon known to be the ball boy while he traveled with the team. He met a man named Diaz and met a "miracle" of a dog on his journey. Free Baseball was one of the best books I ever read.

D. Williams
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alan Gratz on May 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Sue Corbett's middle-grade book Free Baseball is the story of Felix, an eleven-year-old Cuban-American who stows away on a minor league team bus and steps in for the new bat boy who never showed up for work. It's sort of a Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler-kids-hiding-overnight-in-the-museum for the sports set. Typically, I have a hard time swallowing such fantasies as realistic, and thus my enjoyment of these kind of stories is always muted. But as charming or as impossible as the idea of living in a ballpark and working behind the scenes at a professional baseball game might be, there is so much more to this story that such issues are quickly left behind.

At the heart of this story are the diplomatic issues between America and Cuba, and the social turmoil those politics leave in their wake. Felix and his mother were "boat-people," Cuban immigrants who took a secret, overcrowded, and ultimately perilous boat ride to seek refuge in America. They left behind Felix's father, a star outfielder on the Cuban National Team, thinking he would be able to defect and join them during the team's travels. But it's been years now - Felix was an infant during the night-crossing - and he despairs that his father will never be able to join them.

The book then becomes something of a father quest - always a good pairing with baseball (see Field of Dreams, et al.) - as well as an exploration of Felix's strained relationship with his mother and his world. Yet despite settling into these well-worn spots in the outfield, Free Baseball stays on its toes and keeps the reader there too, managing to be pleasingly predictable and surprising at the same time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie Bogart on May 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I happened to read this book as Opening Day rolled out across the country. I had been to the Florida Keys for the first time earlier in the year. The combination of these two experiences opened me to the content of this book. I loved Sue Corbett's writing. She does a great job of walking the line between gritty realism and cheerful optimism on behalf of the main character. The story traces the journey of a boy whose father is mysteriously absent, yet carries the reputation of baseball star in Cuba. The quest to define and discover his roots leads the main character to take unwise risks. Occasionally I was struck by the unrealistic nonchalance of the mother when her son goes missing. However, for the sake of the story, I did understand it.

On the whole, I liked the weaving of cultural history related to Cuba and the theme of baseball as a backdrop to a teen boy's search for meaning, his father, and a future he can claim for himself. A satisfying read.
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More About the Author

Hey, all you fans of FREE BASEBALL. Check out the new memoir I helped Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey write -- THROWING STRIKES. It is an awesome story about overcoming adversity and chockfull of tips for young athletes.

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