From School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Most kids who are baseball-obsessed do not focus their obsession on umpiring. But since Casey's father and grandfather run the third best umpire school in the country, Casey's passion is understandable. He also wants to become a sports journalist. When one of his father's students is revealed as a former major league baseball player who disappeared after a steroid scandal, Casey thinks he has stumbled onto the scoop of the year. But after learning about journalistic objectivity, dealing with his parent's divorce, and helping keep his wacky best friend out of trouble, nothing is going Casey's way. Vernick has written a truly realistic 12-year-old boy in Casey. He is all kid; smart but impetuous, with a good heart. His yearning to be a reporter and get published without doing much work rings true, as does his eventual realization that big dreams do not happen without effort. The umpire school is an intriguing angle to use as a hook to the story. There is enough baseball to keep fans interested, and yet not so much that it might turn off non-sports lovers. The book includes discussions of major league drug use, the aftereffects of divorce, and a bit of parental neglect, but everything is balanced; it all feeds the story, nothing seems thrown in for sensationalism. A solid choice for middle-grade readers.—Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT
a JLG selection
"A strike is a strike, a ball is a ball. But what happens when the rules aren't so clear? You may scream at umpires, but you'll cheer and whoop for a kiddo who's trying with all his heart and guts to find a right way."
—Gary Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award Finalist
"Screaming at the Ump will make kids cheer! Baseball fans will love these funny, heart-warming characters, and the unique view of the game from behind the plate."
—Tim Green, New York Times bestselling author of Baseball Great and Best of the Best
"This novel is a true original. If you’ve never read about umpire’s school before (and, seriously, who has?) you’re going to enjoy this book. Vernick’s writing is funny, poignant, and especially wise when it comes to dispelling the preconceived notions we sometimes cling to."
—Todd Strasser, internationally bestselling author of The Wave, Fallout, and other titles
"Vernick laces her tale with humor, plus credible insights into the truly difficult art and techniques of umpiring, as she leads her aspiring journalist to make some good choices in the wake of a realization that people (parents included) should have more than one chance to get their calls right."
"Multiple threads come together in a well-crafted way when Casey realizes the same skills an umpire needs—being objective and fair, knowing the rules, and being int he right spot to make the call—also apply to becoming a good journalist and healing his broken relationship with his mother."—Publishers Weekly
"It’s the peek into the world of professional umpire training that carries the interest here, culminating in the fictional but tantalizing event, You Suck, Ump! Day, in which students perform under intense pressure of a local crowd recruited to heckle them on the field."—Bulletin
"Believable characters, fast-paced action, ample dialogue, Casey's first-person voice, and great descriptions of Zeke's hyperactivity make this a probable home run for lots of middle-schoolers."—Booklist Online
"A solid choice for middle-grade readers."—School Library Journal