Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Slugger Book Poster Image
Slug makes the team in esteem-building baseball story.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Shows what some bugs and slugs look like, and some of their characteristics grasshoppers leap, slugs do well in mud). There's also fun wordplay with the players' insectoid names, such as Mickey Mantis and Babe Beetle than can spark a discussion of some of baseball's greatest players. 

Positive Messages

Do your best, defy expectations, follow your dream against all odds, and never give up, don't let your physical differences hold you back. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ollie has a positive attitude and finds a way to play baseball even though he has no arms or legs and is very slow. He practices a lot before asking the coach for a shot at the team, and tries his hardest in the game. He also shows he's valuable even though he's different when it starts to rain: All the players but Ollie are flummoxed by the downpour, but slugs move easily in the rain!

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Slugger is the story of a slug who dreams of making the Creepy Crawler baseball team and never gives up. With the help of a specially designed batting helmet and an open-minded coach, he gets a chance to prove his worth in the bottom of the ninth. Slugger has a great message of trying your hardest despite all odds and not letting the ways you're different from others keep you from achieving your dream.  

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What's the story?

Ollie is a baseball-loving slug who wants to be on the Creepy Crawler team (full of different kinds of insects), even though by all appearances he has no chance. But he gets a specially designed helmet that lets him bat with his head, practices hard, and begs Coach Roach for a tryout. Then he must prove himself in a game against the Stingers.

Is it any good?

SLUGGER is an uplifting tale of an underdog who makes good. The outcome is a bit predictable, and the story has some holes. (Why does Ollie only have to bat and not field?) But the upbeat picture book's positive message to try hard and go after your dream despite all obstacles and physical limitations is a good one for underdogs everywhere. And David Slonim's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations of insect and slug characters are cute, funny, and loaded with personality.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about slugs. Do you see them come out in the rain? How are they different from snails? 

  • Why are stories about insects so popular? What other ones have you read? 

  • What's fun about sports stories? Why do you think the author chose to have the players be  insects and a slug instead of humans? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and can-do stories

Themes & Topics

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