One-Handed Catch

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Overview

Not even losing his hand can keep Norm from trying out for the baseball team

What would life be like with only one hand? That's exactly what eleven-year-old Norm finds out when he loses his left hand in an accident at his family's store. It's July 4, 1946. World War II has ended, and life is getting back to normal. But for Norm, the pressing question now is whether he will ever be able to play baseball again, or be an artist. It's up to Norm to...

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Overview

Not even losing his hand can keep Norm from trying out for the baseball team

What would life be like with only one hand? That's exactly what eleven-year-old Norm finds out when he loses his left hand in an accident at his family's store. It's July 4, 1946. World War II has ended, and life is getting back to normal. But for Norm, the pressing question now is whether he will ever be able to play baseball again, or be an artist. It's up to Norm to find the strength to get beyond this roadblock and move on with his life.

Set against the quickening pace of life after wartime constraints, this inspiring novel is about an optimist who overcomes his misfortune with discipline and humor—and fulfills his dreams in ways no one could have expected.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Quality writing and a protagonist who will inspire readers and convince them that handicaps are limitations only if you let them be.”—Voice of Youth Advocates

“Kids will be fascinated with just how Norm learns to cope, and Norm won’t mind a bit if they watch.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“A light, humorous tale. Norm’s inner voice is generally calm, and his jocular exchanges with his friend Leon provide comic relief . . . An enjoyable read on the popular theme of overcoming adversity.”—School Library Journal

“A strong sense of purpose, leavened by generous doses of humor and post-World War II period detail, drives this story of a resilient middle-grader who demonstrates that having one hand is an opportunity rather than a handicap . . . This story offers both inspiration and useful information, deftly wrapped in an engaging narrative.”—Booklist

“Auch handles [Norm’s] emotions and those of his family and friends believably and never patronizes her characters or her readers by becoming maudlin. Moving and thought-provoking.”—Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
Norm has lost his hand in a meat grinder accident. Now he's faced with the overwhelming task of putting his life back together as he struggles to relearn all those things that used to be so easy. Is it possible to tie shoelaces with one hand? He'd better learn unless, as Norm's tough-love mother says, he wants her tagging along to tie his laces when they come undone. Think of it as a puzzle! Figure it out! As far as she's concerned, Norm's not going to get any special treatment. There are so many things to figure out: how to pitch, bat, and catch so he can play his beloved baseball; how to play an instrument in the school band; how to tie knots for the Boy Scout Jamboree. Norm's story is sad, funny, and inspiring but never overly sentimental as he stubbornly refuses to let anything stop him. A home run of a story inspired by the life of the author's husband who lost his left hand and went on to excel at sports and to become a graphic artist and illustrator.
VOYA - Dave Goodale
When eleven-year-old Norm lost his left hand in an accident at his father's store, he feared that he would never be able to play baseball again. Through perseverance and creativity, however, he continues to pursue his passion. Norm's mother provides tough love that never allows him to use his disability as an excuse, and Norm's friend Leon always remains loyal. As the story progresses, Norm overcomes many obstacles with wit and optimism-his first day back at school, his first gym class, and more. His ultimate triumph is when he is chosen to play on the summer league baseball team. Set just after the end of World War II, Auch's novel is a heartwarming story of family and friendship. There are no surprises here, just quality writing and a protagonist who will inspire readers and convince them that handicaps are limitations only if you let them be. Auch's husband lost his hand as a child, and he assisted the author by relating stories of his childhood and how he learned to play baseball with one hand. The fact that some of the happenings in the story are based on true events lends authenticity to the writing. The book's title might mislead teens who are looking for a sports read loaded with game descriptions, but it is a minor criticism. Refer interested teens to books and stories on major league pitcher Jim Abbott.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Set just after World War II, Auch's novel tells of 11-year-old Norm, whose family owns a meat market. On the Fourth of July, while helping his dad in the store, he gets his hand caught in the meat grinder and loses it. He then faces the challenges of one-handed shoe tying, band practice, and his dream of being a baseball player. The climax is, of course, the big game and Norm's chance to prove himself to his peers and community. The gruesome accident is the only jarring note in this otherwise light, humorous tale. Norm's inner voice is generally calm, and his jocular exchanges with his friend Leon provide comic relief. His mother's fierce attempts to keep her son independent and his father's silent guilt round out the family picture that feels immediate in many ways, even though the story is set in 1946. While the rosy worldview may be slightly exaggerated, there's a small-town interconnectedness between the episodic chapters that will keep the pages turning. One-Handed Catch is an enjoyable read on the popular theme of overcoming adversity. Pitch it alongside Joseph Bruchac's The Warriors (Darby Creek) and John H. Ritter's The Boy Who Saved Baseball (Philomel, both 2003) as a sports fiction title.-Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9

Mary Jane Auch's novel (Holt, 2006), narrated by 11-year-old Norm Schmidt, opens on the morning of July 4, 1946, with the whole town excited that rationing is over and fireworks are back. Norm, helping out in his family's meat market, catches his hand in the meat grinder and is rushed to the hospital. His hand must be amputated, and his dreams of bikes, cars, baseball, and drawing may be over. His parents react to the accident in different ways. His father becomes stoic with guilt, and his mother insists that Norm learn to do everything for himself. When Norm's best buddy tries to convince him to give up on baseball, the boy only becomes more fired up to try harder. An article about a one-handed major league pitcher provides additional encouragement. Norm also learns to fit back into life at school as a result of his mother's admonition to his teachers that he get no special treatment and a new friend who helps him become more confident of his artistic abilities. A colorful bully, Norm's best friend's sense of humor, the Boy Scouts, and baseball add to the fun. Listening to this book is like falling into a Norman Rockwell painting and getting to live among genuine post-war Americans. Narration by Ryan Sparkes and the Full Cast Family is enjoyable and well done. Period music and an interview with the author and her husband, whose childhood inspired the novel, add to this superior production. Fans of John Ritter's The Boy Who Saved Baseball (Philomel, 2003), Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf, 2003), and Edward Bloor's Tangerine (Harcourt, 1997) will enjoy this audiobook.-Jo-Ann Carhart, East Islip Public Library, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Norm's life is changed forever on July 4, 1946, by a freak accident in which he loses his left hand. How is he to tie a shoelace, cut his food and manage the myriad of other essential daily tasks, let alone ride a bike and play baseball? The people in his life fall into two categories: those that see only the things he can't do, and those who encourage him to see each problem as a puzzle to be solved. He is determined not only to meet the daily challenges, but to play baseball as well. Emulating the strategies of one-armed major-leaguer Pete Gray, Norm creates ingenious ways to practice fielding, throwing and batting, and becomes a valued member of his team. Norm, based on the life of the author's husband, is a hero, but not a saint. Auch handles his emotions and those of his family and friends believably and never patronizes her characters or her readers by becoming maudlin. Moving and thought-provoking. (author's note) (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805079005
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/19/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

M.J. Auch is the award-winning author of Guitar Boy, Wing Nut and numerous other books for young readers. Books were a part of M.J.’s life from an early age; her mother was a second grade teacher who always made sure there were plenty of books in the house. M.J. now lives on a small farm in upstate NY with her husband and co-illustrator, Herm, and their two dogs, Sophie and Zeke.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 4, 2014

    The book One-Handed Catch is about a kid named Norm Schmidt. Wo

    The book One-Handed Catch is about a kid named Norm Schmidt. World War 2 is over and him and his friend Leon wanted to go set off the fireworks. They couldn't set up the fireworks during the war because of all the blackouts. Norm is eleven years old and he really wanted to set off those fire works. One day Norm works in his fathers meat market. While grinding some meat Norm loses attention of his hand and his hand gets caught in the meat grinder. Norms' life was never going to be the same. Regardless if he had one hand or not he was going to still learn how to play baseball again. Neither Leon or his family though he would be able to do this. This books shows the pros and cons of living with one hand. I gave this book a 5 because now it's one of my favorite books next to Soul Surfer. This book is great for people that want to understand life with one hand or for people that need to learn to not ever give up. This book is 248 pages so it will take you about 1-3 days to complete. You should pick up this book at your local library now!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

    fantastic

    One-Handed Catch by MJ Auch is a very fascinating story about a boy named Norman. Norman is an eleven year old boy after world war two. At Norman¿s family store he cuts his hand of so he will have to go on with life with only one hand. He has to go on with life like, he want to be an artist but he is upset that he could not be one because he has one hand. Then he wanted to be a professional baseball pitcher for the giants. When it came to baseball try outs he made the team and every game he nearly pitches a perfect game. So I would really recommend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2011

    This book is good

    The book I'm reviewing is One-Handed Catch by MJ Auch. The book is really good. I liked it, so I hope other people like it.
    The book is about a kid that loses his hand in a meat grinder. But he still tries out for baseball and he works hard to make the team. He has a best friend his name is Leon and they always do stuff together. They practice together and help each other to make the team.
    I can relate to Norm because he likes to play baseball like me. I like to pitch like him too. He never gives up too like me. He gets mad at his friends and does not talk to them some times to.
    I like this book a lot because Norm works hard at stuff. He loves the game of baseball too. I like books that don't give up. So if you like books that people don't give up, this is the one.
    I would recommend this book to a person that likes sports or people that don't give up. It tells a lot about sports.
    I think this book is good so you should read this book

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  • Posted December 13, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    This book is good for people who think that they arent good enough because they are crippled or just dont believe.

    This book is about a boy who loses his hand and loves the game of baseball. He doesn't believe he can still play nor does his friend Leon. The boy practices though. He starts believing he can do it when he starts making baseball training things. The boy learns that even with one hand, anything is still possible.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2009

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    Posted June 30, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2010

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