Corbett (12 Again) delivers a solid and satisfying story about an affable 11-year-old who, as an infant, escaped from Cuba with his mother to Florida. Felix constantly laments that he knows so little about the father they left behind; but he does know that the man is a well-known professional baseball player in his homeland. A talented player himself, Felix resents that his mother, who frequently works overtime and is studying for her college degree, rarely attends his ball games. One day the boy wins tickets to a minor-league game. Hoping that one of the players might be Cuban and know his father, Felix wanders into the visiting team's locker room and is mistaken for the new batboy. In a slightly farfetched turn, Felix stows away in the luggage compartment of the team bus and accompanies the players to their clubhouse across the state. The author credibly builds the ways in which he endears himself to the players-whose long-standing losing streak ends with Felix's arrival-and to the team's big-hearted owner, who, like the boy, has suffered a great loss. The boy's mother finally opens up about the past, providing a satisfying counterpart to the contemporary baseball-focused action. Felix's yearning for a greater presence from both his parents feels palpable. The denouement may be a bit tidy, but readers, especially those who share Felix's passion for baseball, will likely want to stick with the tale till the last pitch is thrown. Ages 10-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Felix Piloto, an eleven-year-old living in Florida with his mother, is a baseball fan. He does not know his father who was a baseball star in Cuba. He wants to know about him but his mother is no help. Then a chance to learn something offers itself when a baseball team with a few Cuban players comes to town. Felix wins tickets to go see them play and through a series of circumstances becomes the team's bat boy. A funny poignant story about a boy looking for his roots the only way he knows how. 2006, Dutton, Ages 10 to 14.
Maria E. Gentle
Eleven-year-old Felix Piloto lives and breathes baseball, much to the disdain of his single mother. Since fleeing Cuba with her son, she has struggled to finish college while working long hours to put food on their table, making a neglected Felix pine for his father. Naples, Florida, has a farm team for which Felix manages to obtain tickets to the season opener. Forced to attend with an obnoxious babysitter, he manages to hide in the visiting team's locker room and is soon on their bus, mistaken for a newly hired ball boy. On this unplanned flight of fancy, Felix wants to discover more about his father, a famous Cuban baseball star. The friendly team manager, with some issues of his own, takes Felix under his wing, housing and feeding him as he learns of Felix's deception. The story wraps up nicely as the manager helps Felix and his mother come closer together, and the mystery of what happened to his father in Cuba is resolved. This story is every baseball-loving kid's dream-traveling with a team, caring for the mascot, talking baseball all of the time. The story is efficiently rendered with realistic dialogue, some in Spanish. Hi-lo readers would definitely root for this likeable hero. "Free baseball" is a term used to describe extra inning games-fans at the ballpark get more for their money-creating a perfect title for a book about a boy's love of the sport. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2006, Dutton, 160p., Ages 11 to 14.
Gr 4-7-An engaging, well-written story with a satisfying ending. As the son of a Cuban superstar, 11-year-old Felix Piloto has baseball in his blood. He would give anything to be like his father, or know more about him, but his mother won't reveal anything beyond the fact that he risked his life and career to get his wife and baby to America. While attending a local Florida league game, the visiting team mistakes Felix for its batboy. He jumps at the chance to hang out with real ballplayers and hopes to discover more information about his dad. Corbett's love of the game serves her well. The story has an authentic feel, not just in relation to the game, but to the game as it is played in the minor-league ballparks of Florida, where careers are hatched or buried. Felix's journey to discovery is sensitively portrayed, particularly as it conflicts with his mother's efforts to provide the life his father envisioned. The supporting characters are a mixed bag of those who aid Felix and those who get in the way. Baseball terms and Spanish words are seamlessly woven into the text and defined in glossaries. This book will predominantly appeal to fans of the sport, even though it is about so much more.-Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Felix and his mother escaped from Cuba when he was a baby. He now lives in hope that his father, a star baseball player, will join them someday. But his mother is strangely reticent when he asks for more information about his father. Life in Florida is difficult; his mother works long hours while attending school, leaving him feeling neglected, resentful and lonely. His one solace is baseball. Circumstance, impulse and a little strategy lead to a job as a batboy for a local minor-league baseball team. He finds friends among the players and a mentor in the team's owner. He finally learns his father's real story and comes to understand and appreciate his mother's sacrifices and strength. Corbett remains carefully true to Felix's view and interpretation of events and deftly weaves a moving coming-of-age story with a sweet, satisfying conclusion. (afterword, glossary) (Fiction. 9-12)