Best of the Best (Baseball Great Series #3)

Best of the Best (Baseball Great Series #3)

4.7 63
by Tim Green
     
 

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Josh’s game is about to change.

So is his life.

Josh is still fl ying high from his team’s tournament win at Cooperstown whenhis parents start talking about a divorce. Now his dad is challenging him toplay the best of the best at the Little League World Series in Williamsport,Pennsylvania. But does he just want to get Josh out of the way?

Two

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Overview

Josh’s game is about to change.

So is his life.

Josh is still fl ying high from his team’s tournament win at Cooperstown whenhis parents start talking about a divorce. Now his dad is challenging him toplay the best of the best at the Little League World Series in Williamsport,Pennsylvania. But does he just want to get Josh out of the way?

Two things are sure: His father’s new girlfriend, Diane, is looking to makesome changes, and Josh is determined to get her and her terrible son out of hislife. With help from Benji and Jaden, Josh races to get the facts that can keephis family together. Suspense builds as Josh fi nds it hard to concentrate on thegame and make the winning plays that will lead his team to victory.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Paula Rohrlick
In this sequel to Baseball Great and Rivals, 12-year-old Josh, a champion hitter, joins the Lyncourt all-star Little League team, in a long-shot effort to help them make it to the Little League World Series. His coach father points out it's a rare opportunity to play teams from around the world, and when Josh's wisecracking friend Benji is permitted to join the team too, Josh's enthusiasm grows. However, another member of the team causes Josh some consternation: obnoxious Zamboni is the son of Josh's dad's new girlfriend, and Josh is both irritated by Zamboni and upset over his parents' separation. He also starts to suspect that there may be a scheme afoot to bilk his father out of some money, and enlists the help of his clever friend Jaden in a rather unethical plan to come to his father's aid, in the weakest and least believable part of this otherwise winning tale. Josh must somehow surmount all these distractions if he's to play his best game, and learn to become a leader and help his teammates. With lots of baseball action, this story will appeal to sports fans, and those who have enjoyed the previous volumes will want to follow Josh's adventures. Green writes realistic, detailed baseball scenes, and Josh's quandaries and the lively characters will keep even reluctant readers turning the pages. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
VOYA - Sean Rapacki
A former first-round NFL draft pick for the Atlanta Falcons and an avid Little League baseball player and coach, Tim Green knows sports. What is more important from the perspective of a reader is that Green also knows how to tell a great sports story that has people at its heart. For readers tired of the typical sports cliche in which an underdog goes all the way to the top to grab the glory, this novel instead takes a nuanced look at the challenges faced both on the field and off. Green focuses on a young baseball great who has to learn that in life beyond the diamond what it takes to win and lose is not clearly defined. Josh LeBlanc knows exactly what it takes to succeed in baseball, but when his father moves out on the family to pursue a relationship with a sexy divorcee, Josh is angry, worried about his mother, and frustrated at how powerless he is to deal with the situation. Baseball fans will enjoy Josh's detailed descriptions of the games and plays that help his team along the way to the Little League World Series, but what is really impressive is how Green captures the emotions of a kid who wants more than anything to keep his family together, a "game" he might not be able to win. A bit of the plot leans toward the implausible, particularly the Nancy Drew—like efficiency in which Josh's friend Jaden is able to dig up dirt on the bad guys and the maturity in which Josh is able to deliver coaching advice to his teammates, but all in all this is an extremely winning tale. Reviewer: Sean Rapacki
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—As this installment opens, Josh LeBlanc's father is in the process of abandoning his family for femme fatale Diane Cross. It is eventually revealed that he has also become involved in her sketchy gas-drilling lease operation, endangering future earnings from a lucrative Nike contract he secured in a previous book. Phenomenally talented Josh, meanwhile, has been chosen to join an all-star Little League team that he hopes to lead to the national championship. In a transparently artificial plot device, the 12-year-old is assigned Diane's son, Marcus Zamboni Cross, as a roommate. Zamboni is a nasty piece of work who taunts Josh, smokes cigarettes on the sly, and flicks boogers to express his disdain for the world at large. He undergoes a change of heart (and personality), however, when Josh gives him some tips on improving his game. Incredibly, Zamboni agrees to help unmask his divorced parents' plan to cheat Josh's father. While fans will enjoy the sports action and the interaction between Josh and series characters Jaden and Benji, they may well be put off by the adult themes.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT
Kirkus Reviews

Another episode in the life of 12-year-old baseball phenom Josh LeBlanc, introduced in Baseball Great (2009). While still a superstar on the field, off the field Josh has problems.His father is investing money from Nike in what seems like a questionable deal, and the realtor, perky Diane, is turning his father's head with more than real estate. As his parents' marriage falls apart, Josh and his good buddy, Benji, are finagled onto a local team with a chance at winning the Little League World Series.His dad still wants to be his coach, but Josh is rebellious and frustrated with him. Compounding his woes are his demanding lawn-mowing business, trying to support his mother and little sister in this hard time and the need to stay on top of his game. His best friend, Jaden, a girl with dreams of becoming a reporter, helps out.Plenty of baseball-insider detail and knowledge of the game is imparted as the run to the championship unfolds. The slightly dishonest proceedings that allow both boys to play parallel the equally suspect shenanigans in the adult world. The money involved in sports, even at the kid level, is carefully emphasized, as is the pressure to win. Ethics in sports lifts this above the usual sports saga. (Fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061686245
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/21/2012
Series:
Baseball Great Series, #3
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
112,241
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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