Out of the Ballpark

Book review by
Dawn Friedman, Common Sense Media
Out of the Ballpark Book Poster Image
Yankee MVP's tale is all about positive attitude.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Main character works hard to achieve his goal.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this story from New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez celebrates the values of commitment and hard work without being preachy.

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What's the story?

Alex is determined to do all he can to help his baseball team win the championship. Will his hard work pay off?

Is it any good?

While there's lots of opportunity to turn moralistic here, Alex's story remains accessible and encouraging throughout because of the kid-to-kid tone of the narrator.

Even if you have no idea that Alex Rodriguez was twice voted the most valuable player for the New York Yankees, that he hit 400 homeruns before he turned 30 or that he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners straight out of high school, you'll still appreciate his fictionalized account of his little league self. Parents might point out to kids that Alex does more than practice -- he sees himself winning the game. When his regrets about the last game feel overwhelming, he focuses and works harder.

The "real life" aspect of the story is played up with the addition of captioned pictures from Rodriguez's photo album showing him at the age of the kid in the story. Morrison's fine illustrations capture the energy and excitement of the games and of Alex's home life, with lots of angles and action and a wiry look to the pre-adolescent hero. While few kids will ever become major league players, most of them will identify with Alex's drive and commitment. And they may just be inspired by his example to work a little harder at their own passions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Alex's enthusiasm for baseball made it easier for him to work so hard. How might have things gone differently if Alex felt resentful of his baseball practice? What are some examples of his positive attitude?

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