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Ballpark Mysteries #1: The Fenway Foul-up (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)) Paperback – February 22, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews
Book 1 of 9 in the Ballpark Mysteries Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Two nine-year-old sleuths bring sharp powers of observation and deduction into play when a Red Sox slugger's favorite bat disappears. Cousins Mike and Kate are thrilled when Kate's sports-reporter mom brings them to a game, and they are up to the challenge when star player Big D's bat goes missing after batting practice. Folding information about Fenway Park and its colorful history into the tale, Kelly also artfully slips in simple red herrings along with real clues to the thief's identity and the bat's whereabouts that sharper readers may pick up before the young detectives do. Game action takes a backseat to the investigation here, but Big D gets his bat back in time for some late-inning heroics against the Oakland A's, and afterward presents his awed young fans with suitable rewards. Leading off a formulaic series that will take Mike and Kate to baseball parks around the major leagues, this book should draw baseball fans as well as budding whodunit aficionados. Grades 2-4. --John Peters

Review

"Folding information about Fenway Park and its colorful history into the tale, Kelly also artfully slips in simple red herrings along with real clues to the thief’s identity and the bat’s whereabouts that sharper readers may pick up before the young detectives do...Leading off a formulaic series that will take Mike and Kate to baseball parks around the major leagues, this book should draw baseball fans as well as budding whodunit aficionados." - Booklist

"A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery...Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading." - Kirkus Reviews

"Kelly throws in plenty of behind-the-scenes Fenway Park trivia (both in the story and in an appendix) and keeps the story moving at a quick pace, which should easily hold baseball-lovers' attention." - Publisher's Weekly

"...should score with the series chapter-book gang, particularly kids who enjoy the blend of fiction and information that keeps the Magic Tree House thriving. There are a couple of sly misdirections to please beginner mystery readers, some Fenway-specific trivia to intrigue nonfiction readers, and the promise of the entire gamut of major-league baseball stadiums yet to visit for those continuing with the series. A scattering of black-and-white pictures and appended “Dugout Notes” extend the fun." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"...Any 6- 9 year old baseball fan would step to the plate and devour this book like a box of Crackerjacks! Kelly intersperses the perfect mix of sports action, crime-solving and facts about Fenway Park." - Examiner.com

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Series: A Stepping Stone Book(TM) (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; A Stepping Stone Book edition (February 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375867031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375867033
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Cyrus Webb TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
As someone who has learned what I know about sports from books, author David A. Kelly has given me another lesson and a great mystery with THE FENWAY FOUL-UP. Though the book is perfect for that young person in your life who loves a great story, it is also a quick read that adults can read appreciate as well.

Cousins Mike Walsh and Kate Hopkins not only share a love for baseball but a challenge as well. When they learn that one player's "lucky bat" has been stolen, they do all they can to not only find the bat but the one responsible as well.

There are several lessons in this book that we as adults can share with children. One is the importance of being observant to things going on around us. There is also the lesson of not taking something that doesn't belong to us, never knowing what the consequences could be. Probably one of the great lessons that Kelly shares is that good deeds are always rewarded, sometimes in ways you could never expect. This proved true for Mike and Kate and can easily be the case for all of us.

A clever read with just enough twists and turns to keep a child's attention, David A. Kelly hits another one out the park with THE FENWAY FOUL-UP.

Cyrus Webb, Conversations Book Club/Conversations Magazine
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Format: Paperback
No mystery at all about the appeal of The Fenway Foul-Up: the first book in author David A. Kelly's terrific new series serves up a winning mix of baseball action and ace detective work in one clever package. The neatly plotted story takes young readers behind the scenes at a Major League ballpark, where nine-year-old pals Mike Walsh and Kate Hopkins find themselves in the middle of a muddle when a star slugger's prized bat goes missing just before game time. Crackerjack sleuthing combine with insider-y baseball lore to make the book a perfect fit for Cam Jansen and A-to-Z Mystery enthusiasts as well as fans of sports adventures. My eight-year-old devoured The Fenway Foul-Up in one sitting and looks forward to many more Ballpark Mysteries to come!
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Format: Paperback
* Ballpark Mysteries are a great addition to the early chapter books currently out there.
* Author David A. Kelly is definitely filling a need for more sports books for newly independent readers.
* Mysteries set in sports venues makes a combination guaranteed to work for young boys and sports-oriented girls.
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Kate Hopkins and Mike Walsh have accompanied Kate's mom to Fenway Park for a Boston Red Sox game against the Oakland A's. During batting practice, Big D's lucky bat goes missing. Big D is the Red Sox's biggest hitter, but without his lucky bat he can't do much. After some great detecting, Kate and Mike save the day when they locate the missing bat.

The writing is simple and so is the story. Young sports fans will eat this up. This book will be a grand slam for Boston fans, but general sports fans will enjoy it as well, using this one to whet their appetite until Kelly gets around to setting a story in their favorite team's stadium. The second book, already published, is set in Yankee Stadium and the third in Los Angeles Dodger Stadium.
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By Andi on March 23, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Ballpark Mysteries series is the perfect series for a young boy who is obsessed with baseball. He was so excited to read these books and finished them in no time! I didn't read this myself, but according to him it was a very good book. It has since been passed down to his younger brother, who isn't so much into baseball but enjoys mystery. So it's a perfect book for the both of them! Covers all the bases (get it?!)
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Format: Paperback
My six year-old enjoyed this. It's not rich or deep literature, but it's a well-written mystery that's easy to follow. the female characters are very strong - it's quite egalitarian. Great for a Red Sox lover.
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This is a great book if your kid likes mystery books and/or baseball. It takes place at a real place (Fenway) and describes many of the peculiarities that are specific to the park. The main characters are two kids who have access to the park through a parent who works there. Both kids love baseball and are problem solvers always looking for clues.

I have liked what I have read of this series since they all feature the unique aspects of different baseball parks/cities. They only think I haven't liked is that a few of the books mention divorce - which some parent may not be ready to speak to their kids about (especially if they are advanced readers for their age).
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My son is 7 years old, and LOVES baseball. I could not get him interested in a book to read for the longest time - until I found this series. He is currently reading Fenway Foul-Up and will be doing a book report on it at school. Next on his list is the Dodger book (Ballpark Mysteries #2).

These books are exciting for him to read! And all the little tidbits of information regarding the actual ballpark, is wonderful. His dream is to one day go to Fenway, so this book is perfect.

Thank you to the author! My child LOVES to read chapter books now!!
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My 7 year old son really enjoyed this book. He isa reluctant reader, so we took turns reading (I read the first chapter, then he read the second, etc.). He is looking forward to the next book in the series.
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