The Lucky Baseball Bat: 50th Anniversary Commemorative Editionby Matt Christopher, Robert Henneberger
Martin is new to the neighborhood, and wants to make a good impression on his new teammates. But when he loses his lucky baseball bat, Martin fears that he has also lost his ability to play baseball. Will Martin be able to continue his winning streak without the bat?
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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- Hachette Digital, Inc.
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- 564 KB
- Age Range:
- 8 - 12 Years
Read an Excerpt
The Lucky Baseball Bat
50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition
By Matt Christopher, Robert Henneberger
Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersCopyright © 2004 Matt Christopher Robert Henneberger
All rights reserved.
Marvin bit his lip and mopped his damp forehead with a grimy handkerchief. His sister Jeannie, two years younger than he, scowled at him.
"What're you afraid of? Go in there and ask them."
"Ask who?" Marvin said.
He looked from her to the group of boys scattered on the ball field. They were practicing, just throwing the ball among themselves to limber up their muscles and get the feel of it. The sun was shining through a thin layer of cloud, with a lot of blue sky around it. Many of the boys wore short-sleeved jerseys.
Jeannie brushed a tangle of curly hair away from her eyes and pointed. "Ask that man there. Jim Cassell, He's the captain or something, isn't he?"
Marvin didn't like to go and ask Jim Cassell. Jim might tell him to go home. He didn't know Marvin, and Marvin didn't know him. That was the trouble. Marvin hardly knew anybody here. They had just moved into the city.
"I think I'll just go out there with those kids and see if they'll throw a ball to me," he said after thinking for a while. "That'll be all right, won't it?"
Jeannie nodded. "Go ahead. Maybe it's the best way, anyway."
Marvin felt pleased because he had figured that one out without anybody's help. He started out at a slow run toward the scattered group of boys. They were all about his size, some a little smaller, some taller. Most of them had baseball gloves. He wished he had one. You didn't look like a baseball player without a baseball glove.
All at once he heard Jim Cassell's voice shout out to them. "Okay, boys! Spread out! A couple of you get in center field!"
The boys scampered into position. Marvin didn't move. Jim Cassell was having the boys start batting practice. A tall, skinny kid stood on the mound. He pitched the ball twice. Each time the boy at bat swung at the ball and missed.
The third time he connected. Marvin heard the sharp crack! It was followed by a scramble of feet not far behind him. He looked up and sure enough the ball, like a small white pill, was curving through the air in his direction!
"I got it! I got it!" he cried. He forgot that he had no glove. His sneakers slipped on the short-cut grass as he tried to get in position under the ball.
Somebody bumped into him, but he didn't give ground. "I got it!" he yelled again.
The ball came directly at him and he reached for it with both hands. The next instant it changed to a blur and he felt it slide through his hands and strike solidly against his chest.
His heart sank. Missed it!
"Nice catch!" a boy sneered. "Where did you learn how to play ball?"
Marvin gave him a cold look and shut his lips tight to keep his anger from spilling out. Another boy who had come running over stopped and threw darts with his eyes too.
"Who do you think you are, trying to catch a ball without a glove? Next time leave it alone," he said.
Marvin looked at his bare hands, feeling his heart pound in his chest. He walked away, sticking his hands into his pockets. He could feel the hot sun burning his neck.
"Kid!" Jim Cassell's voice yelled from across the field. "Hey, son!" Marvin turned.
"For Petey sakes," Jim said, "don't try to catch a ball without a glove! You'll get hurt!"
Marvin looked away, his lips still pressed tight together. "Come on," he said to Jeannie. "Let's go home."
"Sure," Jeannie replied in disgust. "You can do something else besides play baseball with those boys."
"But I don't want to do anything else!" Marvin said, angrily. "I want to play baseball!"
Then he looked up. A tall, dark-haired boy was watching him — a boy of high-school size, with broad shoulders. He seemed to be amused about something.CHAPTER 2
Hello," said the high-school boy. "What's the matter, fella? You look as if you'd lost your best friend!"
Marvin tried to smile, just to show that he wasn't mad at everybody. "Nothing's the matter," he answered, his eyes on the ground. He kept walking with his hands in his pockets, his heels scraping the dirt and pebbles. Jeannie had hold of his arm, as if whatever suffering he was going through she was going through with him.
"Hey, wait a minute!" the tall stranger called after them as they started by. He caught Marvin's arm in his big fist and Marvin had to stop. The smile on the stranger's face turned into a bigger one. "You didn't answer me. What happened?
Won't they let you play ball with them?"
"I haven't got a glove," Marvin said. "I'm sure I could catch those balls if I had a glove."
The tall boy laughed. Marvin liked the sound and turned to look at Jeannie to see what she was thinking. Her blue eyes were crinkling in a cheerful grin, and Marvin knew she felt the same way he did. Whoever this tall boy was, he was nice.
"Tell you what," the stranger said. "My name's Barry Welton. I live about two blocks around the corner on Grant Street, to the right."
"We live a block to the left," Jeannie said warmly. "I'm Jeannie Allan, and this is my brother Marvin."
"Well! That's fine!" He made a motion with his hand. "Come on," he said, and began to walk toward Grant Street.
"Where you going?" Marvin asked, wondering.
"To my house. I'm going to give you something. Something I think you'll like to have."
When they reached his house, a gray wooden frame building with yellow shutters, he asked them to wait in the living room while he ran upstairs. He came back down a couple of seconds later, and Marvin's eyes almost bugged from his head.
Barry was carrying a bat and a glove!
"Here," he grinned. "These are yours. Now maybe they'll let you play. Okay?"
"Christmas!" Marvin cried. "You mean you're giving these things to me?"
Excerpted from The Lucky Baseball Bat by Matt Christopher, Robert Henneberger. Copyright © 2004 Matt Christopher Robert Henneberger. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
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Meet the Author
Matt Christopher is the best selling name behind more than 100 sports-themed books for young readers.
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Both my 6.5 year old daughter and my 5 year old son loved this book. My daughter and I took turns reading to my son and it kept their interest without any trouble. I liked it because it teaches a lesson. My 5 year old son wished it had more pictures, but my daughter prefers the "chapter books" without many pictures. We've since passed the book to our neighbor who has three boys. They are enjoying it as much as we did. I would recommend this for any new reader 1-2 second grade who loves baseball. We finished the book in two evenings.