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Zombie Baseball Beatdown Hardcover – September 10, 2013


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 2ND edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316220787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316220781
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-9–Don't be misled by this novel's horror B-movie title and cover art: thought-provoking, topical issues and wry wit elevate it above the expected gross-out zombie tale. Middle school friends Rabi, Miguel, and Joe literally smell trouble wafting from their small town's meatpacking plant, where they find cows living in filthy conditions and behaving oddly. Then the boys' baseball coach turns up moaning “Brainsssss!” and tries to bite Rabi. When the children discover that meat from the sick cows is being packaged and sent to local supermarkets, they are on their own to prevent a zombie cow apocalypse because no one believes their story. Miguel's revelation that he's in the country illegally introduces biting commentary on racism and immigration. Bacigalupi also zings big business, the meatpacking industry, and the USDA, culminating in an epilogue that's both cautionary and empowering. Rabi, Miguel, and Joe are realistic, complete characters. It's a testament to the author's skill that they express values of courage, friendship, and integrity as naturally as they toss off hilarious observations: “Talk about ankle biters,” Rabi comments when he sees two little zombie girls chewing on a man's leg. References to current video games and cyberpunk comics add appeal to this fast-paced home run.–Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Printz-winning Bacigalupi writing a middle-grade zombie novel? Yes, it really happened, and yes, it’s pretty darn good. Milrow Meats, the meat-packing plant in Delbe, Iowa, is up to something. Pals Rabi, Miguel, and Joe can tell from the ungodly stink, the anxious behavior of the Mexicans who work there, and—oh yeah—their zombified Little League coach, who tries to nosh their brains. Further sleuthing reveals that SuperGrow growth supplement is being fed to the cows, creating undead bovines that, in turn, create “zombie burgers.” And what happens when folks start snarfing those burgers? Though the plot synopsis recalls such gleeful splatter fests as John Kloepfer’s Zombie Chasers series, in Bacigalupi’s hands it feels closer to Walter Dean Myers’ Cruisers series, with much of the story delving into issues often overlooked in youth fiction: the capricious treatment of immigrant workers, the absence of options for the poor, and the questionable record of the USDA. Simultaneously smart, funny, and icky, this book asks a tough question: Is it worth looking the other way in order to save yourself? HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The sheer improbability of a big-name author delivering a project like this should generate a strong Venn diagram of commercial and critical interest. Grades 4-7. --Daniel Kraus

More About the Author

Paolo Bacigalupi is a Hugo and Nebula Award Winner, and a National Book Award Finalist. He is also a winner of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, the John W. Campbell Award, and a three-time winner of the Locus Award. His short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, and High Country News. He lives in Western Colorado with his wife and son, where he is working on a new novel.

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Customer Reviews

Gross would be okay too.
Brandy Y.
There's also a compelling plot with plenty of action.
Dunyazad
He couldn't put it down and wants the next one.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Arco on August 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I will buy the rest of the story when available. This is a bit different from the authors earlier works, but very entertaining none the less.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dunyazad VINE VOICE on March 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I'm a big fan of Paolo Bacigalupi, because he writes dystopias that actually take our current world as a starting point and consider how current issues could develop. (In other words, they're not dystopian romances where the dystopian structure makes no sense.) I've enjoyed The Windup Girl, Ship Breaker, and The Drowned Cities, so I picked up this latest book too even though it's for children. I'm not particularly into zombies or baseball, but the author was enough to sell me on it. So, I had good reason to expect that I'd enjoy this book. And yet Bacigalupi *still* managed to impress me and exceed my expectations. There are big issues here: food safety, the treatment of illegal immigrants, the disproportionate power of corporations compared to individuals. There's also a compelling plot with plenty of action. And these different elements just fit together so well, making the book much better than the sum of its parts. This has more depth than a typical action-adventure story, without sacrificing interest or becoming preachy. I'll definitely continue to read anything Bacigalupi writes, whether for adults, teens, or children, and if I had a child of my own I would recommend this book to them.

At least one other reviewer has raised the question of whether the topics here are appropriate for children. The protagonist of the book is half Indian (as is Bacigalupi's own son, I think), and he's teased and taunted about it by some of his teammates in his mostly-white town. One of his best friends is an illegal immigrant who was brought to the United States as a baby and has never known any other home, but is at risk of being deported. In other words, there are controversial issues here. If you're open to discussing big ideas with your child and helping them develop an awareness of the different lives that people live, this book could be a good starting point for a conversation. If you're looking for a mindless zombiefest, this is not the book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By GreensRGood on October 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A novel variation on the zombie story. The book has fun with how zombies are created, and the teenage protagonists feel realistic. The underlying messages are serious ones, about the health of our meat supply and also how policies on illegal immigrants allow unscrupulous employers to take advantage of them, but the polemical messages don't get in the way of the action. And how could you not like a zombie cow head?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my 13 year old son. He can be a picky, somewhat perfunctory reader. I was pleasantly surprised to see him read this book in two days! He couldn't put it down and wants the next one. He really liked the mystery and the motivation between the main character.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Leyton kent on August 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
amazing want to get full book so bad(: (: i am so speechless its so amazing bbe (best book ever)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Juneau on April 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
When I read Scalzi's "The Big Idea" piece on it, it sounded interesting, but I didn't intend to pick it up. Except I saw it on my library's eBook catalog, so I thought, what the heck. It sounded like fun.

Paolo says he wrote the book as a fun thing without much pressure. There aren't any literary techniques. He just tried to make a fun book for boys about zombie fighting, without many themes and motifs. I think the themes are actually more prevalent than he makes light of. There's a prominent thread of foreigners/bigotry in here. Moreso than the zombies, which are actually lacking. Those expecting something like "World War Z" or "David Wellington" will be disappointed.

That being said, the novel does achieve what it seeks out to. It's a beach read, not too heavy except for the racism themes, and some fun gross-outs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J.P. Inkswitch on January 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I was shopping for new books with my son recently, and he was pretty lukewarm about most of what we were seeing. I had put a few books for kids in his age range on our list, but he wasn't terribly excited about the whole thing. I had decided that we needed some new books to read together (and for him to read on his own) and he was resigned to it, but that was about it.

Naturally, his level of enthusiasm changed markedly when he saw this book. Zombies? A freshly-whacked zombie head flying toward the reader on the book's cover? Now he was excited and I was resigned. I mean, every right-thinking person loves zombies, but yet another zombie movie/show/book/game/etc? When is enough finally enough?

Still, he had his heart set on this book as soon as he saw it, so I added it to the list and resolved to look it up later to see if it was worth getting. I did look it up, and read some reviews here and elsewhere, and decided to get it. I'm glad I did.

We read the book together, taking turns, though I read the bulk of it to him. Throughout the book and in retrospect, I was very impressed by the writing and character development. When we read other books for this age group (including some of the ones on his list I was more in favor of buying, I have to admit), we often encounter characters who are fairly flat, perhaps partially to serve as a cipher for the reader, and a lot of cringeworthy narration and dialogue. Especially narration. I can't think of any specific examples at the moment, but you know what I'm talking about: the kind of goofy kid-isms that unhip middle-aged writers think that kids would say, but that kids wouldn't actually say or think.
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