The Batboy Audio CD – Audiobook, March 9, 2010
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Audio CD, Audiobook, Unabridged
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Both Brian and Hank can't seem to get to first base communicating at work. Both have serious mid-summer slumps to contend with. Hank, in fact is nearing dismissal from the team.
Figuring his batting slump is due to not being able to practice for his league play, Brian and his fellow batboy Finn stay after a game, and hit ball after ball in the batting cage to find out what his swing needs. Out of the dark, Hank Bishop shows up, unasked for, but with freely given advice and suggestions that by the end of practice look to be connecting Brian's swing with the ball. Out in the parking lot, Hank meets Brian's Mom and gets invited to dinner. Brian notices for the first time in a long time, his Mom is interested in baseball or is it in Hank?
In a nice move to fix Hank's slump, Lupica makes great use of all the DVDs and sports footage ever stared at by any baseball fan or player anywhere. Brian, in the midst of viewing Hank's old games spots a critical change in Hank's batting stance. Hank brushes off Brian's efforts to communicate, until Brian finally blurts out what he saw. Hank, man enough to recognize a fan can spot something useful, views the footage after dinner and stays to look at more games and more games and more games with his biggest fan.
The rush toward the end of the season is given in fine detail and includes a visit from Brian's Dad. When his Dad focuses on baseball business matters and ignores being with his son, Brian comes to understand the difference between his Dad and Hank - one truly is focused only on the game. Hank, Brian's new friend and his Mom's new date, relates to both the game and the people who play it and knows why both are important. The final games are a nice "I am moving on and it is OK now" ending for Brian, Hank and his mother.
Game descriptions: Very Good - a real sense of being there - particularly showing how many variables actually contribute to a good or bad game.
Grade level appeal: 3rd grade on up, but especially for those in middle school sports
Read Aloud/Read and Share: Excellent for parents to share both sports and personal talk in the course of reading about the game.
Reading Skills: Great for extra reading practice.