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The Bat Boy & His Violin
     

The Bat Boy & His Violin

by Gavin Curtis, Earl B. Lewis
 

Reginald is more interested in practicing his violin than in his father's job managing the worst team in the Negro Leagues, but when Papa makes him the bat boy and his music begins to lead the team to victory, Papa realizes the value of his son's passion.

Overview

Reginald is more interested in practicing his violin than in his father's job managing the worst team in the Negro Leagues, but when Papa makes him the bat boy and his music begins to lead the team to victory, Papa realizes the value of his son's passion.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though the themes of baseball and classical music initially may seem a jarring juxtaposition, here the duet makes for lovely harmony. Lewis's (Fire on the Mountain) realistic, emotion-charged watercolor paintings evoke a pivotal period in baseball history. It is 1948 and, as Jackie Robinson did the prior year, many top African American ball players in the Negro Leagues are defecting to join "white teams." Curtis's (Grandma's Baseball) plot centers on Reginald, a young violin player whose father manages the Negro National League's worst team, which has lost its best players. Hoping to tear him away from his beloved instrument, Papa drafts Reginald as the Dukes' bat boy, but soon discovers that his son is as clumsy with the bats as he is graceful with his bow. Yet when the boy plays his violin in the dugout, his music inspires the batters, and the Dukes miraculously make it to the playoffs. As Curtis shapes a heartwarming relationship between father and son, his portrayal doesn't neglect the era's bitter facts: though previously all-white leagues were accepting African American ball players, many other whites were not. The Dukes may not go home with the pennant, but this imposing book will score high marks with youngsters, whether their tastes run to sports or to Mozart. Ages 4-10. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Music is the bone of contention between Reginald who loves his violin and his Papa, coach of the Dukes baseball team. The tensions mount as the Dukes lose and Reginald's inept skills as a batboy add to the anxiety. While he may be a bat bumbler, when relegated to the bench, Reginald gracefully releases strains of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. He brings success on the field and comfort off it. Ultimately, it is not the wins and losses that matter so much as the love of this son and his father. The illustrations accent emotions and delineate the time period of the Negro Leagues. This very specific story has subtleties that reveal facts aboutthis period in African-American sports and civil rights history.
Children's Literature - Karen Leggett
Reginald plays the violin. His father plays baseball. In fact, his father is the manager of a Negro Leagues baseball team and he doesn't understand why his son is "cooped up inside all the time" playing a fiddle. "Violin," says Reginald. The team needs a bat boy and Reginald is tapped for the job, with a promise that he can practice his music "'tween innings." The music has a decidedly positive impact on the ball players, whose balls go sailing out of the park to the strains of Mozart and Tchaikovsky. But even a winning team in the Negro Leagues has to sleep on the bus because hotels "don't exactly cotton to coloreds sleepin' in our beds." E.B. Lewis' soft watercolors flow across the page in a story that captures both the early struggles of black athletes and a young boy's determination.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4--This picture book offers readers many things: an interesting look at life in the Negro National Baseball League of the 1940s, a wonderfully delineated father-son relationship, and a gentle advocacy of the sometimes intangible value of culture. Reginald is serious about playing his violin but his father, who coaches "the worst team in the Negro National League," the Dukes, believes his son would use his time more wisely by serving as bat boy for the team. After a couple of humorous disasters, the child becomes an unusual bat boy who plays his violin in the dugout to urge the players on, while his father takes care of the equipment. Ultimately, the Dukes' success and appreciation for Reginald's talents make his father alter his view of violin playing and find pride in his son's achievements. Lewis's soft watercolor illustrations portray the characters with depth and beauty, resulting in a very special book.--Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780756904623
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/28/2001
Product dimensions:
11.10(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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