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Lucky: Maris, Mantle, and My Best Summer Ever Hardcover – February 23, 2010
In the summer of 1961, Louis, who stinks at stickball, manages to make a difficult catch of a foul ball at Yankee stadium. This leads to an invitation from Roger Maris to visit the Yankee’s clubhouse and an offer of a job as one of the team’s batboys. In the course of the summer, Louis forms a friendship with Maris (who dubs him Lucky) as he and Mickey Mantle chase Babe Ruth’s single-season homerun record. Things at home are more challenging; Louis struggles with his divorced parents and a resentful stepbrother. Tooke commits a minor error—he says that a double header is against the Tigers, yet the two games described are against the White Sox—but, on the whole, he captures baseball in a simpler time. The picture painted here isn’t naively nostalgic, however. The bitterness many fans felt toward Maris for breaking the beloved Ruth’s record is a major theme. Best of all, Tooke conveys the excitement that a young boy would undoubtedly feel as an eyewitness to one of the game’s most thrilling seasons. Grades 4-6. --Todd Morning
About the Author
C. W. Tooke has worked as a feature writer and editorial consultant and has published features in Salon, New Jersey Monthly, and the Princeton Alumni Weekly. His first novel, Lucky was a Junior Library Guild Selection. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and dog.