Baseball Great

Common Sense Media says

Clunky but taut story of Little League steroids.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Josh tries to do what is right, without hurting his father.

Violence

A bloody fistfight in a bathroom. An adult goes after a child with a baseball bat but doesn't catch her.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Cookie, car, gum, sportswear, cereal, soda, drugstore brands mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A teen smokes; beer, whiskey, and chewing tobacco are mentioned. The main plot revolves around a coach who is giving his young players steroids.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a story about an adult coach who gives steroids to the children on his under-14 baseball team. The main character doesn't take them and works to stop the coach. There's also a short but nasty fistfight in a public bathroom.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

When Josh's father, a minor-league baseball player, is cut from his team, he gets a job with an under-14 championship traveling team, and pushes Josh into joining. Despite grueling practices and some hazing, Josh is beginning to fit in. But then he is offered steroids by one of the other kids, steroids that the other players use, and that presumably come from the intense and somewhat scary coach -- who is now his father's employer.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Author Tim Green is not yet a great writer, but he is a terrific storyteller: and when you have a plot this compelling it almost doesn't matter that the prose sometimes sounds like the stuff of a freshman composition class ("like biting into a ruby red apple only to find a brown worm crawling through the crisp, white fruit"). Yikes! But a few pages in and young readers won't care -- they'll be hooked by the suspenseful, ripped-from-the-headlines story, doled out in teeny chapters with artificial mini-cliffhangers at the end of each.

They also won't care that the characters are one-dimensional stereotypes (the bully, the obsessed coach, the modest boy-wonder and his sidekick, the tough teen girl reporter/detective with a heart of gold, etc.) -- because they're good stereotypes. They're satisfying. Josh is a major talent who also works harder than anyone else, and the story of his triumphs is like a realistic wish-fulfillment fantasy, a down-to-earth superhero story.

From the Book:
When he saw his home, a narrow, red two-story place with a steep roof and a sagging front porch, he breathed deep, and his heart began to slow. The previous owner had three pit bulls, and so a chain-link fence surrounded the house and its tiny front and back lawns, separating them from the close-packed neighbors on either side. The driveway ran tight to the house, and like the single, detached garage, it was just outside the fence. Josh lifted the latch, but as he pulled open the front gate, a hand appeared from nowhere, slamming it shut. The latch clanked home, and the hand spun Josh around. "What you running from?" asked Bart Wilson, the tenth-grade smoker.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the main issue raised here. Why are steroids banned? Should they be allowed? Why or why not? Since they are banned, why do athletes keep using them?

Book details

Author:Tim Green
Genre:Sports
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:March 1, 2009
Number of pages:250
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Read aloud:9
Read alone:10

This review of Baseball Great was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?
Thanks – we appreciate your feedback!

Essential Apps Guide