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The Bat Boy and His Violin (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books) Hardcover – April 1, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though the themes of baseball and classical music initially may seem a jarring juxtaposition, here the duet makes for lovely harmony. Lewis's (Fire on the Mountain) realistic, emotion-charged watercolor paintings evoke a pivotal period in baseball history. It is 1948 and, as Jackie Robinson did the prior year, many top African American ball players in the Negro Leagues are defecting to join "white teams." Curtis's (Grandma's Baseball) plot centers on Reginald, a young violin player whose father manages the Negro National League's worst team, which has lost its best players. Hoping to tear him away from his beloved instrument, Papa drafts Reginald as the Dukes' bat boy, but soon discovers that his son is as clumsy with the bats as he is graceful with his bow. Yet when the boy plays his violin in the dugout, his music inspires the batters, and the Dukes miraculously make it to the playoffs. As Curtis shapes a heartwarming relationship between father and son, his portrayal doesn't neglect the era's bitter facts: though previously all-white leagues were accepting African American ball players, many other whites were not. The Dukes may not go home with the pennant, but this imposing book will score high marks with youngsters, whether their tastes run to sports or to Mozart. Ages 4-10.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4AThis picture book offers readers many things: an interesting look at life in the Negro National Baseball League of the 1940s, a wonderfully delineated father-son relationship, and a gentle advocacy of the sometimes intangible value of culture. Reginald is serious about playing his violin but his father, who coaches "the worst team in the Negro National League," the Dukes, believes his son would use his time more wisely by serving as bat boy for the team. After a couple of humorous disasters, the child becomes an unusual bat boy who plays his violin in the dugout to urge the players on, while his father takes care of the equipment. Ultimately, the Dukes' success and appreciation for Reginald's talents make his father alter his view of violin playing and find pride in his son's achievements. Lewis's soft watercolor illustrations portray the characters with depth and beauty, resulting in a very special book.AJudith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Series: Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689800991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689800993
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gwyneth Calvetti VINE VOICE on October 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book has so many themes superimposed on one another, but they are all presented within the context of a wonderful story about a boy who just wanted to play his violin.
Set among the context of the Negro League era, Reginald's father decides one summer to make him bat boy for his team. The team is down on its luck, and Reginald's heart isn't in this assignment, but everything comes together for him and the team one day.
The history of the era as gently portrayed in the travels of the players is presented for young readers. The story of being true to yourself, and of parents learning to accept that in their children, is here as well. Above all else, the story of Reginald and his journeys with the ball players is a story of hope and triumph among the community in a time that was not always seen as one of hope. Along with all of this, the illustrations of E. B. Lewis capture these themes beautifully.
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Format: Hardcover
In the twilight days of the Negro Leagues, a gruff manager of a losing Negro League team is unhappy that his musical son spends all his time practicing his "fiddle." He hauls the unwilling and sensitive boy to games, to employ him as a bat boy....and the magic, not to be revealed here, begins. A lovely book about appreciating differences.
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Format: Hardcover
This wonderfully illustrated and written book has deservedly won the destinction of being selected as an honor book by the Coretta Scott King Award selection committee. Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My children and I love this book! My 8-year-old son is also a musician and sports fan, and he loves to read this book! After we checked it out from the library, he requested to have a hardback copy so he could read it anytime. It is a very touching and inspirational book. Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
Reginald's father is the manager of a baseball team in the Negro league. Reginald would rather play his violin than a else. His dad signs him up to be a bat boy. Reginals plays his violin for the team which starts them on a winning streak. Shows insight into world of music impact and Negro ball players.
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Format: Hardcover
This book had me with its first line "I sashay my bow across the violin strings the way a mosquito skims a summer pond". The young boy loves to play the classics even though his father is pressing him to enjoy sports instead.

Add the beautiful illustrations, the heartwarming depiction of a close-knit family, the father's last comment, and the opportunity to discuss how society has changed. IMHO, this book is definitely a winner with lots of opportunities for discussion.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is beautifully written and illustrated.
It is a simple book with a powerful message for both children and adults.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought copies of this book to give to an inner city school in Philadelphia, through the Alumni Association of Temple University (at the suggestion of their College of Education). I have not read it, but I was interested in it because of the title and cover graphic that seems to break the stereotypical activity choices for children in today's society. The story line seems to entwine a little boy's love for baseball and for his violin. I hope it is a good seller and that more school libraries include this book.
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