Top of the Order [NOOK Book]

Overview

Jackson’s parents are divorced and his mother has started dating. Gig’s dad is in the National Guard and has been called up to serve in the Middle East. Isaac's dad wants him to go to a different middle school than all his friends. Diego is the new kid in school, a power-hitter who works with his family on the weekends and can't make every team practice. These four friends lead different lives, but on the baseball field, they're a strong team, the top of the order. In this crucial last year of elementary school, ...

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Top of the Order

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Overview

Jackson’s parents are divorced and his mother has started dating. Gig’s dad is in the National Guard and has been called up to serve in the Middle East. Isaac's dad wants him to go to a different middle school than all his friends. Diego is the new kid in school, a power-hitter who works with his family on the weekends and can't make every team practice. These four friends lead different lives, but on the baseball field, they're a strong team, the top of the order. In this crucial last year of elementary school, they’re faced with preparing for middle school and dealing with a new member of their team—a girl!

Acclaimed author John Coy takes readers into the hearts and minds of 5th grade boys, with plenty of baseball action that's sure to keep even the most reluctant readers turning the pages.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Coy (Box Out) brings his successful combination of relatable characters and sports action to his middle-grade debut. Jackson Kennedy, the affable fifth-grade narrator, lives for baseball. Playing shortstop for his school team helps take the sting off his troubles at home and school: divorced parents, a newly dating mom and middle-school worries about eighth-graders who "make you drink a Coke so fast, you hurl in the garbage can." Jackson and his team have high hopes for the coming season until Sydney-his best friend Gig's sister-shows up to play second base (with her pink glove, no less). Jackson mentally wrestles with this as most boys his age would: she's a good player and the team needs her, but she's still a girl. Coy does a good job keeping his story grounded in the concerns that kids this age would have, and his characters-such as Gig, the goofball whose dad is about to be shipped to Afghanistan, and G-Man, Jackson's baseball-loving grandpa-are appealing and true to life. Young baseball fans will enjoy the infield banter, Gig's corn-dogs-up-the-nose antics and the grand slam ending. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Laura Lehner
Jackson Kennedy loves baseball more than anything, and he finally gets a chance to play shortstop on his team, the Panthers, when the position opens up. The problem will be finding a good second baseman to take his place. Enter Sydney, his best friend Gig's sister. Gig hates it that she wants to join the team, especially with her lucky pink glove. The problem is that she is good—really good. Ten-year-old Jackson is already struggling through school as well as dealing with his parents' divorce and his mom dating again. The last thing he needs is a rift with his best friend, but Gig stops speaking to him after Jackson practices in-field plays with Sydney without telling him. On top of everything else, now Coach wants him to play catcher instead of shortstop. This fast-moving tale has engaging characters and plenty of baseball play-by-play for fans of the game. The conflicts that plague him are in perfect proportion to a ten-year-old's perspective, where an angry best friend and a goofy guy dating your mom really do feel like the weight of the world on your shoulders. The strength of teamwork is emphasized here, making it a fun read with a positive message. Reviewer: Laura Lehner
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6

Jackson approaches the end of fifth grade with mixed feelings: he's ready for middle school, but word is that eighth graders make life miserable for the incoming class. It's May, though, and now he's looking forward to baseball. The team has some great players, but is down a second baseman, and if one can't be found, the season is going to have to be forfeited. When Gig's sister shows up at practice, Gig is furious. But Sydney quickly shows her stuff, leaving Jackson in a quandary. Does he support Gig by trying to pressure her to quit the team, or does he put his feelings for the team ahead of their friendship? To further complicate matters, Jackson and his brother are shuffled back and forth between their divorced parents' households, and his mother is dating again. The adults in his life want him to challenge himself. Can't they see that his life is already full of challenges? Coy effortlessly captures the voices of boys on the verge of adolescence. Jackson and his friends are fully developed. Gig's perception of his sister as always showing him up comes through clearly, and when he tells Jackson, "Baseball was the one place I didn't have to deal with her. Now she wants to wreck that, too," students will appreciate the dilemma. Gripping play-by-play and a fast-moving plot will appeal to sports enthusiasts and reluctant readers.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Kirkus Reviews
Bored with school, ten-year-old Jackson Kennedy can't wait for summer baseball, but as the season approaches, so do distractions: A girl joins the team (with a pink glove, no less), his mother has begun dating again, middle school looms and his friend's father has been called up for service in Afghanistan. Except for Sydney's joining the team, the other issues stay in the background, and Jackson's first-person narration tells a simple and straightforward tale of individuals who come together to become a team. Sydney handles taunts, pitches aimed at her head, base runners barreling into her and batting woes to earn the respect of her team, though she curiously drops from Jackson's radar as soon as the season ends, and his bond with other boys solidifies as they brace themselves for middle school. Appealing characters and plenty of baseball action will make this a hit with young sports fans. (Fiction. 8-12)
From the Publisher
Praise for Top of the Order:

“Coy (Box Out) brings his successful combination of relatable characters and sports action to his middle-grade debut...Coy does a good job keeping his story grounded in the concerns that kids this age would have, and his characters . . . are appealing and true to life. Young baseball fans will enjoy the infield banter, Gig’s corn-dogs-up-the-nose antics and the grand slam ending.”—Publishers Weekly

“Keeping the tone light and folding in suspenseful game action, Coy underscores the importance of teamwork, bonding, and being open to change both on an off the field.”—Booklist

“Gripping play-by-play and a fast-moving plot will appeal to sports enthusiasts and reluctant readers.”—School Library Journal

“Appealing characters and plenty of baseball action will make this a hit with young sports fans.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The strength of teamwork is emphasized here, making it a fun read with a positive message.”—VOYA

Children's Literature - Jennifer Waldrop
Fifth grader Jackson and his friends have been looking forward to baseball season, but their team has run into a problem. They do not have a second baseman. They ask every boy they know to join, but everyone else has conflicting interests. Their solution comes in the form of a bigger problem; Gig's sister, Sydney, wants to fill the position. The pressure is put on Jackson to find someone else to play second baseman, but he is not sure he wants her off the team because she is a very good player. On the surface, this is a book about a baseball team and the various pressures associated with the sport. However, the real story is in the complex lives of the characters and their individual pressures. Jackson's parents are divorced and he is forced to split his time between them and adjust to his mom's new dating life. Diego's family runs a business and they expect him to do his fair share of work in addition to school and the baseball team. Isaac's parents want him to go to a different middle school from his friends next year. Gig and Sydney have their rivalry over the baseball team to contend with, but the reader learns that the root of their discord is actually their fear about their father being deployed. Top of the Order is an interesting, multilayered book that is about much more than baseball. Reviewer: Jennifer Waldrop
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429919586
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 3/3/2009
  • Series: 4 for 4 , #1
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 648,474
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • File size: 722 KB

Meet the Author



John Coy has written several books for children and spends much of his time as a writer-in-residence at elementary schools. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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Read an Excerpt


“Run out to the position you want to play,” Coach claps.
I run to short, the best position on the field. Gig races to the mound. Diego takes first and Tony Cerrato’s at third. In the outfield, Isaac’s in center, Steve Stein’s in left, and Cole Gunderson’s in right. Behind the plate, Noah Hauser is catching. But nobody is at second.
As I blow a bubble, I turn to see a clatter on the hill behind first base. A boy on a bike is racing toward us. He pulls up to the fence and leans the bike down.
Then I realize it’s not a boy. It’s Gig’s sister, Sydney. What happened? Why is she here?
She pulls a black glove out of her backpack. “I want to play.”
I look at Gig on the mound. His mouth is open and his eyes are bugging out. Everyone else, including Coach, is staring at Sydney as she walks onto the field.
Who does she think she is?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    Jackson is looking forward to the upcoming baseball season. He'll be playing with all his friends, and he'll be playing his favorite position - shortstop. It should be a terrific season!

    As practice begins it looks like everything is shaping up just as Jackson expected. However, things are about to change. First, the team is short a second baseman. Who can they get to fill the spot? Coach tries Trenton at second base and it's a disaster.

    Then a new player shows up. The player has talent and shows promise. The only thing is - she's a girl and she plays with a hot pink glove. It's Gig's sister. This could be a good thing for the team, but Gig isn't happy about having a girl on the team, much less having it be his sister. Jackson doesn't honestly see a problem with it since she's a decent player, and she's filling a needed role.

    The other problem early on in the season involves the injured catcher. A broken ankle knocks him off the team, and Coach picks Jackson to replace him. His dream of playing shortstop is shattered. Can he make the best of it or will it ruin his love of the game?

    TOP OF THE ORDER is author John Coy's first venture into writing for a middle grade audience, and he's done an excellent job. His characters are likeable and believable from their love of baseball to their typical sibling rivalry. The characters come from a variety of backgrounds, creating appeal for all readers.

    Coy writes great play-by-play action scenes for the baseball portions of the book. They are engaging even for those not familiar with the game. Jackson and his teammates learn the technicalities of the game and how to handle themselves as good sportsman on and off the field.

    Another unique aspect of Coy's novel is the inclusion of a writing component. Jackson's teacher invites an author into the classroom to help students with their writing. The author works with the kids and models many standard writing practices used in actual classrooms today. Teacher should be thrilled to see their work put into practice within an actual novel for kids.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    What up

    This is an amazing book on baseball book for kids my age

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

    Posted May 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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