Prince of Fenway Park

( 37 )

Overview

1919

The Boston Red Sox sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. And with that act, the Curse?and the lives of the Cursed Creatures?begins.

Oscar Egg believes he is cursed, just like his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. Oscar's real parents didn't want him, and now his adopted mom has dumped him off to live with her estranged husband?Oscar's strange and sickly adoptive father. But Oscar's dad has a secret. He lives deep below Fenway Park, ...

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Overview

1919

The Boston Red Sox sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. And with that act, the Curse—and the lives of the Cursed Creatures—begins.

Oscar Egg believes he is cursed, just like his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. Oscar's real parents didn't want him, and now his adopted mom has dumped him off to live with her estranged husband—Oscar's strange and sickly adoptive father. But Oscar's dad has a secret. He lives deep below Fenway Park, and is one of a number of strange magical souls called the Cursed Creatures, a group that has been doomed to live out their existence below Fenway until the Curse is broken. What no one could have predicted is that Oscar is the key to breaking the curse.

But someone wants Oscar to fail—and the Curse to remain. Forever.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jody Little
Twelve-year-old Oscar Egg knows all about the curse of the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox have not won a World Series since Babe Ruth was traded in 1919. What he does not know is that his adoptive father is a part of that curse. He is one of the cursed creatures that live below Fenway Park. When Oscar is left to stay with his father for a few weeks, he meets the other creatures who are part of his Dad's world: the three aunties—Auntie Fedelma, Auntie Gormley, and Auntie Oonagh—the Weasel-Man, the Smoker, and the dangerous Pooka. Oscar and the creatures soon realize that Oscar has a gift for reading codes; they believe he is the boy who can break the curse. But in order to break the curse, Oscar must find a special baseball hidden in Fenway Park. As Oscar searches for the ball, he discovers that not all the creatures of Fenway Park want the curse to be broken, especially Auntie Fedelma. Oscar learns more about the curse as he travels back in time to meet the great Babe Ruth. He also learns about the history of racism within the Boston Red Sox' past. The final chapters of the book showcase a baseball game with Oscar's team of cursed creatures and past Red Sox greats such as Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams pitted against Auntie Fedelma's team. This game, played in the past, coincides with the actual Red Sox vs. Yankees game in 2004—the game that officially broke the curse of the Boston Red Sox. This book is part fantasy and part history. Baseball fans will enjoy seeing the heroes of the past woven into the story. The author carefully but accurately discusses the overt racism in Major League Baseball. Reviewer: Jody Little
School Library Journal

Gr 5-7

To baseball fans, "The Curse" means only one thing: the Red Sox's 86-year-long failure to win a World Series because their owner sold a young Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919. Working from the brilliant premise that an enraged half-elven fan actually did curse the team, Baggott populates tunnels and back rooms around Fenway Park with a cast of magical creatures from the Banshee ("The Lost Soul of the Lost and Found") to a two-headed sportscaster named The Bobs-and sends into their midst 12-year-old Oscar Egg, a human child destined to break The Curse at last. Baseball is, however, only the context here; the story is really about racism, as exemplified both in Oscar's ruminations over his own mixed ancestry and in what he knows or discovers about the Sox's (and Major League Baseball's) dismal historical reluctance to break the color line. Traveling into the past, Oscar gathers up 12-year-old versions of Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Willie Mays and other stars for a climactic game against the less-worthy likes of Ty Cobb, Gaylord Perry, and Pete Rose at the same age. Before stands filled with the ghosts of taunting bigots and cheering supporters, that game plays out in tandem with the classic 2004 contest that turned the Yankees-Red Sox playoffs, and the Curse, around. Both whimsical and provocative (the "N" word crops up in some historical references), this story will engage readers who like clever tales, and also those who enjoy chewing over controversial themes.-John Peters, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
In 2004, the Red Sox finally won the World Series and broke the curse placed on them when Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees 86 years earlier. But the real story of the curse was played out in the underbelly of Fenway Park, in a richly imagined world of creepy tunnels, unusual creatures and an off-night game in the past, when a team of the worst cheaters and racists the game has ever known faced a team of good guys, including Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Bill Buckner. It's the outcome of that game that helped remove the curse, readers learn, and paved the way for the success of the Red Sox. Young sports fans will revel in Baggott's underworld and gladly follow 12-year-old Oscar Egg, who must traverse that world to save baseball and find home. Wrapped in the grand fun of the tale is a history of baseball and the racism inherent in it. Fans, especially the young residents of Red Sox Nation, will dig their cleats in for a thoroughly involving tale. (historical note) (Fantasy. 8-12)
ALA Booklist
“Offers an intriguing angle to spark discussions”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060872434
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/24/2009
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 336
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Julianna Baggott is a poet and the author of several novels for adult readers, including Girl Talk, The Madam, and The Miss America Family, as well as Which Brings Me to You, cowritten with Steve Almond. As the pseudonymous N. E. Bode, she has written The Slippery Map, The Anybodies, The Nobodies, and The Somebodies. She lives with her family in Tallahassee, Florida.

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Read an Excerpt

The Prince of Fenway Park

Chapter One

The Future Condo Prince of Baltimore

The boy who would break the Curse didn't know that he was the boy who would break the Curse. He was just himself, Oscar, who, at this particular moment on this particular day, was watching his mother, who was standing beside her El Camino, caught in the dark exhaust fog at the end of the line of buses. The school day was over. It had been an awful day, the kind that is so awful that it blots out everything else. There was a bruise from a knuckle punch on Oscar's back that still throbbed, and that hadn't even been the worst of it.

Oscar knew about the Curse, of course. It seemed as if everyone was well aware of the Curse that fall, especially in Boston. But what everyone didn't know was that the Curse itself was so real and tangible that it could be held in someone's hand. It existed in a dusty golden box. What everyone didn't know was that the Curse was waiting for the boy who would break it.

Meanwhile, here was Oscar, his mother waving to him from her spot by the El Camino. It was a wild, flapping wave that embarrassed him, and then she slipped into the driver's seat and honked the horn. He was going to turn twelve the very next day, and so this meant he would go visit his father, who would be giving him one of his sad presents—something secondhand but made to look new: an old watch with a new, handmade wristband, a freshly washed Windbreaker with someone else's initials penned onto the tag. His father's presents always made Oscar feel terrible. He knew his father didn't ever have much money, but still Oscar hated having to pretend how happy he was about oldwatches and Windbreakers. It made him feel like a fake.

When Oscar opened the car door, he saw his suitcase wedged in between the front seat and the dash. It was an ancient suitcase—wheel-less and plaid, with a zipper and plastic handle. His mother had bought it at the Salvation Army the week before. He'd thought it was strange when she came home with it. He didn't need a suitcase. He never went anywhere. He and his mother lived in a steamy apartment in Hingham Centre above Dependable Cleaners, where his mother worked. He ate at Atlantic Bagel & Deli & Coffee Co., got his hair trimmed at Hingham Square Barber Shop, traveled daily to Hingham Middle School. The farthest he'd ever gone was the forty-five-minute trip to visit with his father in Boston each Thursday at Pizzeria Uno near Fenway Park.

"What's with the suitcase?" Oscar asked, trying to position his legs around it.

"You're going to stay with your father, just for a month or two. It'll all work out." She put on the car's blinker nonchalantly—as if this were a normal thing to say—and turned onto Main Street.

But it wasn't normal at all. Oscar had never spent the night at his father's place—had never even seen it. His parents had been divorced for as long as he could remember. Oscar stared at the suitcase as if it were the real problem. The suitcase seemed all wrong. He wanted to tell her he didn't like the idea of being shipped off and not told till the last minute—had his father actually agreed to this?—and that he was a little scared of the whole thing; but all that came out was a small complaint. "It's an old man's suitcase," he said.

His mother said, "Look. Nothing's perfect. But let me explain something about love."

Oscar didn't want to talk about love. He knew what she was going to go on about: Marty Glib, the Baltimore King of Condos. His mother had met him in an online chat room; and whenever she talked about him, she fiddled with the beads on her necklace. He'd come up on business a few times; and his mother had gone on dates with him, meeting in restaurants in Boston, so Oscar had never seen him. More importantly, Marty had never seen Oscar—did his mother arrange it that way on purpose?

Oscar caught his reflection in the side mirror. His own face sometimes surprised him—the fullness of his lips, his dark eyes, his small nose, his freckles on his dark skin, his tight, black hair. Oscar wondered if his mother had told Marty everything about Oscar, if his mother—a pale woman with straight, reddish hair—had mentioned that she had a mixed-race child. Oscar's parents had adopted him when he was a baby—a bald, creamy-colored baby. Oscar had always wondered if they'd really known that they'd adopted a mixed-race child or if it had sunk in slowly as Oscar grew up. He didn't doubt that they loved him—his mother in a jittery way, his father with a distracted sincerity. He just wasn't sure if they felt somehow tricked, and if they blamed him a little, as if he'd been the one to do the tricking. Now Oscar wondered if his mother was tricking Marty Glib, too.

The Prince of Fenway Park. Copyright (c) by Julianna Baggott . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

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(31)

4 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 8, 2009

    Fantasy and Reality Collide

    After reading this book with 30 8th grade students, I asked them to write a review of the book and here is a snip it of the comments from the kids! What high remarks! Kudos to you, Julianna!

    "A homerun for me! I loved listening to this book. Fantasy and reality collide, giving us an amazingly exciting book full of twists and turns. It was fun and a great page-turner, leaving me wanting more after every chapter."

    "Kept me on the edge of my seat. This book had some excitement and funny parts in it. It was a bit confused at first when the fairies and other mystical characters entered the story."

    "Good research about the baseball players. I don't like that the characters were fairies, but the final game was EXCITING!!!!"

    "Learning facts about baseball and still hearing a mythical tale? GENIUS!!!! I stayed focused on the story through every page."

    "I liked how there was a constant theme of good vs. evil present in the story."

    "Remember the Titans for baseball"

    "Connects to real people and struggles and makes the story heartfelt."

    "At first, when it started talking about fairies, I didn't like the transition between reality and fairytale. I thought the Aunties and dad were just faking it and pretending for Oscar because he was young. When it got going, I got used to the make-believe concept, and I REALLY enjoyed it! It was a rollercoaster from beginning to end."

    As a teacher, I am constantly searching for books that get kids interested and involved. The kids were begging for more of this book! I would definitely recommend this book to the young adult crowd and to media specialists for their collections. Boys and girls were enthralled!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 28, 2014

    A

    This is the best book ever because of all the creatures and fantasy that's in it. My favorite caracter is the Pooka

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Great read for all ages.

    Bought the book for my grandchildren, ages 6 and 8. Also bought one for my husband. My grandson is reading it and enjoying it very much. When he finishes it he will discuss it with his grandfather.

    A great read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 16, 2012

    AWSOME

    Great book. Made me start wanting to read long books!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A book intended for ten to fifteen year old readers brings to li

    A book intended for ten to fifteen year old readers brings to life the underworld of the Curse of the Bambino; fairies, two headed annoncers, the smoker, weasel man and the pooka among others. They are the fans if you will of the curse. They have always only known it existed so they come to trust in it.
    Enter 12 year old Oscar, a mixed race boy who is dropped off on his secretive Dad, without notice to Dad or even Oscar. Oscar learns who his Dad really is, the part he plays in the curse and that he too lives in Fwnway Park.
    Full of many true to life details, including the Red Sox' notoriously anti integration stance, that bordered on outright racism. The 'N' word is even used several times but within believable historical context. History isn't always sanitized and pretty.
    Oscar takes a ride with the mysterious pooka and finds out what he needs to do to break the curse. Get the magic baseball that has been stitched together with red string by Babe Ruth himself!
    Oscar learns to be proud of his heratige, his family especially his Dad, and his place in the history of the curse and it's demise.
    Throw in a winner take all game of the good vs evil teams of Red Sox past and present, but as twelve year olds! It takes place in Fenway Park during the Red Sox ployoff series win over arch rival New York Yankees, in which the Sox overcame a 0-3 games deficit and went on to win their first World Sweeries in 86 years, or since 1918.
    Part fact, part fiction, liberally dosed with fantasy to help keep young readers glued to a sometimes difficult history of the Boston Red Sox.Reccomended for Red Sox fans of all ages, and baseball fans in general, it will prompt honest discussion of some of the more negative history of the Red Sox, while celebrating the end of the Curse of the Bambino.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    Good book

    I really liked this book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2009

    one of the worst books I've ever read

    This book was selected as the Community Read for Hingham Middle School, maybe because some of the book takes place in Hingham and concerns a student attending HMS. But the book is so poorly written, the story so boring, that my daughter and I have yet to finish it even a week before school starts. She's read six other books in the time we've been struggling to get through this one together. The details are often just plain wrong (like the way the characters leave HMS on Main Street in Hingham enroute to Boston, but take 3A where they pass through "Cohasset and other South Shore towns.") When the reader can't believe even the most mundane of details, how are we supposed to suspend our imagination to believe there are fairies living underneath Fenway Park?
    I am disappointed with this selection.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2009

    the Prince of Fenway Park

    Although I think the novel is very creative and unique, I'm not sure a lot of kids will truly "get" all of the references in this story. However, the bizarreness of the characters and the adventures of Oscar and his father as well as their relationship will still captivate the reader, especially if they are die hard baseball fans. This would be a great book for an adult/child book club to do together as there are so many references to events and people from a bygone era.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2013

    Wonderful

    I read this book last summer and it is awesome

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    Great

    This book is great and is confusing at sometimes but is lovely but also scary

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2012

    I love the sox and i love this book!!!!!

    LOVE THE SOX FOREVER!!!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    AMAZING

    This is an awesome book!!! Great for all ages :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2011

    The best book in the history of baseball. I love it!

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted June 19, 2011

    Will glock

    BEAST! IF YOU DO NOT READ THIS AND YOU ARE A REDWill Glock SOX FAN THEN YOU ARE AT LOSS!!!!!!!!!$!!!!!!!!!!$!!!!!!!!!$

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    History and fantasy a great combination!!!

    This book caught my eye because it was about the Boston Red Sox. My son was a fan from a little boy until he died in 2005. It not only was a story about baseball about about racial discrimination. It taught a very good lesson without being "preachy." It was a story that could be enjoyed even if you don't like baseball. It has a mixture of truth and fantasy. I would recommend this book to baseball fans and fantasy fans alike.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    Students Love the Prince

    <u><a href="http://dowdell.mysdhc.org/bucket/prince.wmv"> Click here for a music video trailer for the book created by student D. S. using Animoto: http://dowdell.mysdhc.org/bucket/prince.wmv</a></u>....................

    <u><b>A Female Student's Wellthought Out Review and Commentary:</b></u>
    ...................
    The book "Prince of Fenway Park" is about a young orphan who is given to his adopted father for a short period of time while his adopted mother is away. While staying with his adopted father he is given the challenge of reversing the curse of Fenway Park and although he is doubted by most he is to go on and try to free all of the creatures cursed in the process. This one visit with his father gives him the opportunity of a lifetime to try and save all the cursed people with the help of the cursed themselves.
    In my opinion "Prince of Fenway Park" was a remarkably written story. It was exciting and adventurous, reaching into even the darkest corners of reality, bringing light to the truth of the past and showing a purpose to even the cruelest parts of life. It was an amazing fantasy for all of the curse believers and opens the eyes of the people who don't even acknowledge what everyone had to experience in the past . Although it was a fiction it also holds the truth and the key to the real world, and even though it seems so horrible to read something that explains everything that most people would try to avoid, I believe that everyone should read this book because it brings light to the dark and liberates the heart from fear giving all a shocking realization of forgiveness, for those who are able to forgive the past can live in the present and will no longer have to dwell on something that is diminishing and withering away. -N. T. ...........
    This book is about a twelve year old
    Named Oscar Egg believes that he is
    Cursed, just like the Boston Red Sox.
    He is living with his adopted parents,
    His real parents abandoned him, but he
    Lives with the adopted parents.
    ........
    But Oscar doesn't know that the Red
    Sox and the creatures inside Fenway
    Park really are cursed-a curse that
    must be broken before the Sox can
    finally win the World series and the
    Cursed Creatures can live free.It's
    Really up to him to Oscar to break
    And he'll have some help...but old
    Curses aren't broken easily.
    .......
    This book to me is a very good book because
    Even though Oscar is a adopted child he
    Is a strong kid who goes through a lot?
    Trying to break the curse he goes through a
    Lot of trouble to break and ends up breaking
    It with some help but I think this book has a
    Little strong racist terms which is kind of un-
    Comfortable.
    <i>Reported by; V. B.</i>
    ........
    <b><u>Another Male Middle School Student's Take:</b></u>.......
    In the "Prince Of Fenway Park" the Red Sox have failed to win A World Series since 1919 when they traded Babe Ruth To the Yankees. Ever since then everyone felt like they were cursed. Oscar Egg was one of those fans who thought so. But nobody ever thought that the curse was real. They definitely did not know that the curse involved banshee's, fairies, Horsemen and even an orphan named Oscar Egg. Oscar was only 11 When He found out his adopted parents, who split up, and supposed aunts Were all hiding a secret from him . his dad has another life under Fenway Park

    Find

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  • Posted June 11, 2009

    Librarian's Take on the Prince

    have been a fan of the author's work since The Anybodies first introduced me to her unusual blend of humor and emotion that fills her books for young adult/juvenile readers. Reading this book I found that same mixture but with a sharper theme and a more fleshed-out main character.

    This was clearly written by an author who loves baseball, the stories of legends, but also wanted to educate and make people think about the undercurrent of racial discrimination in sports and the courage it took individuals to stand up to and eventually overcome it. To that end the fantastic and horrifying creatures that roam its pages, are in sharp contrast with the historical use 3 times of the foul n-word. The author explains in the back why she made this choice and I agree with her reasoning. It gives the curse more depth, adds historical accuracy and makes the victory all the sweeter in the end. I highly recommend this book for all middle school students and librarians! My students agree as you will read and watch below!

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    A Great Story for Everyone!

    When I first sat down to read this book, I was expecting a simple story about a kid who likes baseball. After the first chapter, I discovered that it was much more than that. By the end of the book, I felt moved by the main character (Oscar) and his growth through out the story.

    Almost any person can relate to Oscar's character. At the beginning of the story, he is trying to figure out his purpose and how he fits in to the world. Soon enough, he's faced with an enormous obstacle, but views it as a positive challenge. Oscar embarks on this challenge and develops as a character while learning important life lessons inluding the importance of teamwork, staying true to oneself, facing adversity with honesty, and how to overcome the ugliness of racism.

    I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fun, yet deep story with real life connections. "The Prince of Fenway Park" contains many great lessons to teach youth. Even though the challenge that Oscar faces is set in a fantasy genre, his methods (and attitude) are very admirable and would make for a great rolemodel for any person who is facing an obstacle.

    Kudos, Ms. Baggott, you've written another great book!

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  • Posted June 2, 2009

    If you like fantasy, or Boston Red Sox. You'll love this book.

    Sinking Springs Elementary
    Mrs. Antoun's Class

    Review #1
    The Prince Of Fenway Park could be for baseball fans and fantasy lovers. The main character Oscar, an orphan, feels like his family doesn't love him. Oscar lives with his mom above a steamy laundromat, but his dad lives in Boston near Fenway park, home of the Red Sox. The adventure really begins when Oscar gets dropped off where he and his father, Malacai Egg meet, so his mom can go off with her boyfriend Marty Glibb, A.K.A, King of the Condos. Oscar wasn't that thrilled because his farther always acts sickly. As night falls, Oscar must return to his father's home where he figures out he's not the only one that's cursed. Oscar is determined to break it. Will he break the curse? Read more to find out! We thought the book was a great mixture of baseball, fantasy, and realistic fiction.

    Review #2
    If you like fantasy, or Boston Red Sox. You'll love this book. In The Prince Of Fenway Park the main character , Oscar, dwells with his single-mother. He is bullied because he's adopted by two white people and he is bi-racial (he was born from a white and African American family). His dad and him are Boston fans even though Oscar's mom is going to visit her boyfriend "The King of Condos" in Baltimore.

    Review #3
    Do you know about the Red Sox baseball game curse that was made in 1919? If you want to know more about it then read this book. It starts when a boy named Oscar who was adopted is fed up with his parent's divorce and bullies at school. Then when his mother wants him to stay with his father. His father refused to take Oscar in, but then has no choice. Oscar has never been to his fathers house before. He figures out he lives under Fenway park in Boston where his favorite team the Red Sox play. Where his father lives there is many cursed creatures because of the baseball curse. When Oscar finds out about the curse he goes through obsticalls to try and break the curse. Read more to find out what happens and who breaks the curse!
    Eventually, Oscar's mom abandons Oscar with his dad who Oscar never lived with one day in his life. So his father has to reveal himself to his son and tell him he's a fairy. Also, Oscar learns his dad's secret he lives in the underside of Fenway Park and that he is cursed. That is that his Aunt's and his dad and all of the other mystical creatures are cursed. Until, someone breaks the curse. Who will it be/ How will that person do it?
    Some opinions of people who read the Prince of Fenway Park were: "I was surprised that a book based on baseball, curses, and magical creatures could get that good. It's as interesting as a baseball book can get." "It's really good especially if your a fantasy lover because it has magical creatures and stories," "I thought it was a good book because of the baseball knowledge and the good use of magical creatures," "liked the suspense of who and how they would break the curse.

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  • Posted June 2, 2009

    Imagination and Baseball-a Must Read!

    Oscar, who feels that he doesn't belong in this world, is forced to move in with his father who he has never really known. Oscar enters a world under Fenway Park that sparks imagination in every child. My 3rd grade students loved everything about this book from the characters, to the curse, and especially the ending. This is a must-read for anyone with an imagination!

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