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Posted September 5, 2013
Posted September 28, 2010
fun reading with good lessons
Matt Christopher is a prolific writer of sports-oriented fiction for young readers. His titles deal with baseball, basketball, dirt bike racing, football, ice hockey, soccer, track, and skateboarding. I did his Mountain Bike Mania as a read aloud for our two boys. Our older son Mark, then age thirteen, really liked it and asked for more Matt Christopher books. Not long after that, two of them, this one and Johnny Long Legs (1970), were either given to us or picked up from a free table at a curriculum sale.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
In Long Stretch at First Base, Bobby Jamison and his older brother Kirby play baseball, with their friend Tony Mandos. Kirby and Tony both play first base. Kirby is good at catching the ball but cannot hit, while Tony can hit well but is nowhere near as good at catching the ball. Both are being considered for the All Star team. In Johnny Long Legs, Johnny Reese and his mother move from New York City to the small town of Lansberg when she remarries. Johnny's step-brother Toby plays basketball and gets Johnny, who had played some in the city, on the team, but even though he is quite tall, he is not really very good and has trouble outjumping opponents who are much shorter than he, especially Jim Sain.
I did them as read alouds, and both boys enjoyed them. I like the fact that problems are solved and difficulties faced in a wholesome way. Bobby resists the temptation to steal Tony's new glove just to give Kirby an edge on the All Star pick, and in the process develops a closer friendship with Tony. Johnny gives up smoking, a habit he had picked up in the city, and continues to practice hard at his jumping so he can improve; he also befriends Jim Sain and even helps out when Jim's house is destroyed by fire. These books are not specifically "Christian" but I did really not find anything objectionable in them, other than an occasional euphemism. My experience is that the older Matt Christopher books seem to have less objectionable things.