The Rhino in Right Field

The Rhino in Right Field

by Stacy DeKeyser


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781534406261
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date: 07/10/2018
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 201,273
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Stacy DeKeyser is the author of The Brixen Witch, which received two starred reviews and was a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Pick, and its sequel, One Witch at a Time, as well as the young adult novel Jump the Cracks and two nonfiction books for young readers. She lives in Connecticut with her family. To learn more, visit her online at

Bill Mayer's work has appeared in major journal publications such as the New York Times magazine, National Geographic, Time magazine, Sports Illustrated, and the Wall Street Journal. He also created the Bright Eyes stamp series for the U.S. Postal Service, and has illustrated picture books such as All Aboard by Chris Demarest. Bill lives with his wife, a fellow artist, in Decatur, Georgia. For more information, visit him at

Read an Excerpt

The Rhino in Right Field

  • EVERYTHING STARTED ON the day I had that close call with Tank.

    Tank lives two blocks away, so I see him almost every day, but he usually ignores me. This is probably for the best, since Tank is a rhinoceros. A 2,580-pound Diceros bicornis with a seventeen-inch horn, according to the sign on his fence. That fence also happened to be our right-field fence, which is how Tank and I got to know each other on a first-name basis. It was my turn to play right field, and I’ll admit it: my mind wandered. If you’ve ever played baseball, you know what it’s like. Because no one ever hits the ball to right field.

    Except, of course, when they do.

    It doesn’t help that I’m a terrible outfielder. To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t catch a fly ball to save my life.

    So there I was, caught flat-footed when Pete walloped the ball. It sailed over my head and landed with a thunk in a pile of hay on the wrong side of the fence. Tank’s side. And there was Tank, snoozing in the shade of a billboard. (CALL KING’S MOTORS AT HOPKINS 5800 SOURCE FOR GENUINE PACKARD PARTS!)

    That was our last baseball. Somebody had to get it back.

    And that somebody was the right fielder.

    Let me say this right now: the general public does not belong in rhinoceros pens—ever. This fact is so obvious, some genius decided that a stone wall topped with a chest-high chain-link fence would be enough of a reminder. Sure, it’s enough to keep a stumpy-legged rhino in. But it’s useless at keeping a twelve-year-old kid out. Because here’s another obvious thing: Baseballs do not belong in rhinoceros pens either. What if Tank ate the ball? That would end the game in a hurry—or at least postpone it. The truth always comes out in the end (so to speak).

    The fellas gave me their usual encouragement.

    “What’re ya waiting for, Nick?”

    “I think he’s chicken, that’s what I think.”

    “Some right fielder you are! What, are ya scared of a little ol’ rhino?”

    I dropped my mitt and sized up the situation: hop the fence, grab the ball, and back to safety. Six seconds, tops.

    Or never. Depending on the reflexes of the rhino.

    “Yep. He’s chicken, all right.”

    “Bawwwwk, bawk bawk . . .”

    I took a deep breath, wound myself up, and . . .

    vaulted the fence, up and over (“Atta boy, Nick!”)

    raced to the hay pile (“Hurry up!”)

    grabbed the ball (That’s not the ball. What is that?)

    There’s the ball!


    “RUN! Don’t look back!”

    Over the top, and OUT.

    Exactly 2,580 pounds of muscle crashed into the wall behind me, leaving a Tank-shaped dent in the stone. (I might be making up that last part. But everything else is true, I swear.)

    I somersaulted on the ground. My heart was pounding. My pants were torn. Something smelled really bad.

    But I was holding the ball.

    “You did it!” said Ace, running out from shortstop.

    “Holy moly, we thought you were a goner,” hollered Charlie from the pitcher’s mound.

    Chuck just stood there in left field with his mouth hanging open.

    “Look at you, Spirakis.” Here came Pete, swaggering out from home plate with the bat on his shoulder. “You might live to finish sixth grade after all. Now grab your mitt and hand over that muddy ball. That was a home run and it’s four to three. Still two outs.”

    I stood up, brushed myself off, and flipped the ball to Pete. “Not so fast, slugger. You know the rules. Anything hit into the rhino pen is an automatic out. And by the way—that ain’t mud.”

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