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4.4 15
by Kurtis Scaletta

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Welcome to Moundville, where it’s been raining for longer than Roy McGuire has been alive. Most people say the town is cursed—right in the middle of their big baseball game against rival town Sinister Bend, black clouds crept across the sky and it started to rain. That was 22 years ago . . . and it’s still pouring.

Baseball camp is over, and Roy


Welcome to Moundville, where it’s been raining for longer than Roy McGuire has been alive. Most people say the town is cursed—right in the middle of their big baseball game against rival town Sinister Bend, black clouds crept across the sky and it started to rain. That was 22 years ago . . . and it’s still pouring.

Baseball camp is over, and Roy knows he’s in for a dreary, soggy summer. But when he returns home, he finds a foster kid named Sturgis sprawled out on his couch. As if this isn’t weird enough, just a few days after Sturgis’s arrival, the sun comes out. No one can explain why the rain has finally stopped, but as far as Roy’s concerned, it’s time to play some baseball. It’s time to get a Moundville team together and finish what was started 22 years ago. It’s time for a rematch.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Jay Wise
In most places, religion and politics are topics to be avoided in polite conversation. In Moundville, it is the weather that is taboo. Twenty-two years ago, Roy McGuire's father stepped up to the plate in Moundville's rivalry baseball game versus Sinister Bend. Thirty-two pitches later it began to rain, without stopping, until a few days after Sturgis Nye, a mysterious foster child, came to live with Roy and his father. And so begins the stuff of legend. Roy, a catcher obsessed with baseball and Sturgis (who, of course, turns out to be a fantastic pitcher) cobble together a ragtag team determined to avenge Moundville's abysmal record against Sinister Bend while attempting to break a curse and end the nonstop rain for good. After a Labor Day grudge match is set, Sturgis leaves the Moundville squad to play for Sinister Bend. Can Roy and his teammates overcome the defection of their star player, or will Roy's determination to beat Sturgis at all costs cause Moundville to lose the game before the first pitch is tossed? This novel has all the elements of a classic sports tale: mystery, rivalry, betrayal, and the hold that a game like baseball can have on families and communities alike. Told from the perspective of twelve-year-old Roy, the narration at times reads like a memoir, adding to its charm. Some effort will be needed to sell this tale, which is likely to be enjoyed by Matt Christopher fans or readers looking for titles similar to John Ritter's works. Reviewer: Jay Wise
Children's Literature - Jamie Hain
Roy McGuire loves baseball; he even plays catcher at his summer baseball camp. There is just one problem—the town where Roy lives does not have a baseball team because in Moundville it rains non-stop. In fact it has rained every day since the last baseball game played in Moundville was called for rain twenty-two years ago. Everything changes the summer Roy is twelve. When Roy gets home from baseball camp there is a stranger, a foster brother, Sturgis, sharing his room. At first Roy has little in common with this strange boy with a troubled and secret past—until Roy talks to Sturgis about baseball and teaches him how to pitch. When the rains miraculously stop, Roy forms the first Moundville youth baseball team in twenty-two years and finally finishes the long awaited rematch. This novel uses the sport of baseball and the rich culture of small town youth sports as a background to examine the issues and anxieties that preteen boys face: transitioning between schools, girls, and the potential of dating, changes in friendships, the possible betrayal of friends, and family members (Roy's mother left him and his father to be an international flight attendant), and learning to be a part of something that is larger than oneself. At the end of the novel, Roy has not only learned how to be a better person and leader on his own baseball team but has also helped Sturgis deal with his own problems. Full of humor and written in an easy to read style, this book would be a great read for any teenage boy, especially those interested in baseball. Girls interested in baseball would also find this book and the girl members of the Moundville team interesting. Reviewer: Jamie Hain
School Library Journal

Gr 6-8

Vandals have crossed off the "o" and the "n" from the welcome sign outside the town of Moundville, and appropriately so, as it's been raining there continually for 22 years. Shortly after 12-year-old Roy discovers that he'll be sharing his bedroom with Sturgis, a scarred foster child about his age, the rain stops. What better opportunity to organize some baseball? In short order Roy finds himself captaining a ragtag team with himself as catcher, Sturgis-who has a wicked fastball-on the mound, and position players of both sexes with wildly varying levels of skill. Scaletta takes nearly 80 pages to trot out his varied, well-drawn supporting cast and to fill in the town's history (a necessity: that rain interrupted an important baseball game that some adults, at least, still regard as unfinished business), but he balances perceptive explorations of personal and domestic issues perfectly with fine baseball talk and (eventually) absorbing play-by-play. Readers will cheer Roy on as he struggles to get his team in shape, clicks with a girl who is new to the game but turns out to have an unhittable natural screwball, and weathers some rough waters with moody Sturgis on the way to a rousing climax and a fitting resolution.-John Peters, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
The rain started in the fourth inning of the big game between two rival towns. The game was called and never replayed, because it has continued to rain for 22 years. Amid endless theories that attempt to explain the unexplainable, Roy's father has built a business based on the rain and townspeople have adjusted their lives to indoor pursuits, with outdoor activities taking place in other towns. And then it stops raining. Roy's stream-of-consciousness narration is so unfiltered that it is nearly impossible to discern relevant from extraneous information. There is a plethora of eccentric characters, changing loyalties and strange events. Scaletta tries too hard in every way: He mixes fantasy, mystery, coming-of-age angst, family dynamics, play-by-play baseball and more. While the outcome of the replayed baseball game and Roy's heroics are typical of the genre, there is no real denouement to all the other elements, and in the end readers probably won't care. (Fiction. 9-12)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

To understand baseball, you have to understand percentages. For example, if a guy is hitting .250, he only has about one chance in a thousand of going five-for-five in a single game. Over a season, though, the odds get better. Like about one in seven. Not great, but not that bad. If he plays long enough, he'll probably do it. That's how a guy can go into every game feeling positive. He knows if he plays enough games, eventually he'll have a perfect day at the plate.
It's the same thing with rain. Maybe you read in the paper every day that there's a 25 percent chance of rain. That means there's about one chance in a thousand of having it rain five days straight. It's not likely, but it's not impossible. If you're twelve years old, like I am, you've probably even seen it happen.
If you take all the teams in the history of baseball, then percentages start making funny things happen. For example, Walt Dropo of Detroit once got twelve hits in a row; he went five-for-five one day and seven-for-seven the next. The odds of that are like one in two million, but there's been way more than two million tries, if you think about all the baseball players and all the games they ever played in, so it had to happen eventually. Dropo was just the guy who did it.
That's how I explain the fact that it's been raining for twenty-two years in Moundville. The earth is a big place, and it's been around for a long time. If you think about all the towns in the world and all the years the earth has been around, it was bound to happen somewhere sooner or later. It just happened to be my town and my lifetime. It's percentages.

I'm trying to explain this to Adam on the last day of baseball camp while we're packing up to go home. Camp is at the state university, and we've been sharing a dorm room about the size of a breadbox.
"Everybody's hitting .250?" he asks me. "Even the DH?"
"For the sake of argument, yeah."
"Sounds like a pretty lousy baseball team." He shakes his head. "The manager would send some guys down or something. Maybe make a trade."
"That's not the point."
"It is so the point! If your whole team is batting .250, you don't wait around until the end of time because maybe eventually a guy goes five-for-five. You do something about it."
"We can't do anything about the weather, though."
"You can move."
"It's not that easy. My dad's business is in Moundville."
"He can start a business somewhere else."
"He rainproofs houses," I remind him. "It's not like there's a big demand for that anywhere else."
"I would move anyway," he says. "No baseball? That's nuts."
"It's not such a bad place to live. Anyway, there's lots of places where it rains all the time. London. Seattle."
"It doesn't rain every day for twenty-two years straight."
"It could, though."
I like Adam pretty well, but I'm kind of mad at him for dumping on Moundville. Sure, it's wet, but it's still my hometown.
Fortunately, we're interrupted by a half dozen people practically knocking down the door. It's Steve and his family.
Steve is also from Moundville. We've known each other since kindergarten. His parents and his little sisters and his grandma came down to watch the Camp Classic, and now they're all heading home.
The Camp Classic is a four-team tournament meant to end camp with a bang. Adam and I were on the winning team. He pitched the first game, and I caught both games. My shins still feel like they're about to fall off at the knees, but it was worth it.
"You're coming with us!" says one of Steve's sisters. It must be Shauna because she's wearing a red T-shirt. They color-code the twins so everyone can tell them apart.
"Your dad can't make it!" the other sister, Sheila, explains.
"Shush," says their dad. "Let the man talk to his father." He passes me a cell phone.
"Yeah?" I shout into the phone.
"Hey, kid. No need to yell." My dad's voice is as clear as if he's standing right next to me, a testament to Mr. Robinson's commitment to high-end gadgetry. "I hear you won a trophy?"
"It's nothing." I figure Steve's dad must have told him about my Camp Classic MVP trophy.
"It didn't sound like nothing."
"Those trophies are like immunizations. Everybody has to get one." It's true, too. Adam won a trophy for "best competitor," which meant he took the game too seriously, and Steve won one for "best sport," which meant he didn't take the game seriously enough.
"Anyway," he says, "I've got tied up with some stuff here in Moundville, so I asked Steve's dad to give you a lift back."
"Sure. What's going on?" Usually it means someone's rainproof house is leaking and my dad has to go and fix it. He gives out a five-year warrantee that's no end of grief.
"It's kind of a surprise. You'll find out when you get home. See you soon!" He hangs up on me, and I hand the phone back to Mr. Robinson.
"Thanks for giving me a ride."
"We're happy to have you along. Maybe the girls will bug you instead of bugging the rest of us." Mr. Robinson thinks this is hilarious, and so do Steve's mom and grandma. "Anyway, we're parked right outside. See you in a bit."
We can hear the twins racing to the end of the hall and their mom begging them to slow down before the door swings shut behind them.

"So I guess I'll see you when we're in the big leagues?" Adam asks as we leave the dorm for the last time.
"Sure thing. Get drafted by the same team, okay? I don't want to hit your stuff."
Adam is the only kid I know with a legitimate curveball. I've seen him carve up batters like they were turkeys with that thing. He's small, though. You don't see too many pint-sized pitchers in the majors. So who knows if he'll make it to the bigs?
We trade a clumsy hug, and that's that.

Meet the Author

Kurtis Scaletta was born in Louisiana and grew up in New Mexico, North Dakota, England, Liberia, Brazil, and a few other places. He now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and several cats. Find out more about Kurtis on the Web at www.kurtisscaletta.com

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Mudville 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You wont be able to put it down
lisa-g More than 1 year ago
My 12 year old son loved this book about baseball. He says the entire book is great.
careycorp More than 1 year ago
Kurtis Scaletta's MUDVILLE is heartwarming and original. Young baseball enthusiast Roy's passion for the game is infectious and will have you craving hotdogs and pitcher's duels, even if you don't eat, drink, and breathe America's National past-time. The author's take on defining moments will have you looking at your own life in a different way. I can't wait to discuss with my fourth-grade son.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book!!!! I could NOT putb it down!!!!!
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Centime More than 1 year ago
This is an engaging story that features a cast of quirky, likable characters. Even if you're not a baseball fan, you will like these people enough to want to enter their lives and hear their story.
storiesforchildren More than 1 year ago
-The last baseball game in Moundville was over 22 years ago, well before 12-year-old Roy was born. The game against archrival Sinister Bend was never completed because of a twenty-two year rain delay! Then one day, the rain just stops. The sun came out and Moundville was "Mudville" no longer. Roy and his newly adopted brother, Sturgis, decide to restore the old baseball field and just have fun practicing. Soon, other boys and even two girls join them, and a new Moundville team is born. Roy loves being the coach and catcher. Sturgis ends up being quite the pitcher. Team member Rita throws a screwball that nobody can touch, so the team has back up for Sturgis. Rumor has it that there's a new Sinister Bend team, too. The two teams schedule a game and tension held back for 22 years by the adult populace is ready to burst in anticipation of this rematch. The big day arrives and both teams are out for blood. Moundville has never won against Sinister Bend because of the anger and supposed curse of a young Dakota boy, Ptan Teca, and his father, Ptan Tanka, or so the legend goes. Ptan Teca was a great athlete way back when and could beat the white colonists at their own game - baseball. Was he the one who "punished" Moundville with the 22 years of rain? What would be next? You will just have to read this fantastic book to see who won the game, to immerse yourself in the game of baseball and the weird weather surrounding Moundville. I LOVED this book! It made me laugh, cry, guffaw, howl, and be drawn totally into the weird world Author Kurtis Scaletta created and have it feel "normal". Most of all, I "felt" every pitch, catch, fly ball, etc., and remembered all the nuances of living and breathing baseball like I did when I was that age, also! Bravo, Kurtis, for a terrific job well done! Wohoooooooo! BY: Gayle Jacobson-Huset Stories for Children Magazine
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jon28 More than 1 year ago
I am a 15 year old male. This book would be good for 7th graders. I enjoyed the book because I am a huge fan of baseball. The story begins with you meeting Roy at his summer baseball camp at a local university. He gets home he finds out that he has a new roommate. His father told him that the boy was from a foster home that his father had signed up for. The town in which they live, Moundville, has been going through a 22 year span of rain everyday. The new roommate has never played baseball before. One day, about a week after he moved in, the rain stopped. After the rain stopped, Roy and Sturgis,the new roommate, started throwing the ball back and forth, and Roy thought he would be a good pitcher. Since the town as not had a dry day in a while, the kids in the town decided to start a new baseball team. Roy was elected captain. Everyone in the town was really excited that they had a team again, because before the rain started every 4th of July the Moundville team would play against their rivals, the Sinister Bend team. But they can not do that anymore because the place where Sinister Bend used to be is now completely distroyed from the rain. The team asks the local private high school to play a game against them. To find out more about Roy, Strugis, and Moundvill, you will have to read the novel for yourself, and believe me, it's worth it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who is walt droop?