A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Young Derek's dedication to his schoolwork is a prerequisite for him being allowed to play sports, and the value and necessity of taking his education is emphasized throughout. Baseball beginners and enthusiasts alike also will appreciate the clear and detailed descriptions of Little League games and scenarios.
Jeter stresses family values, the importance of discipline and focus, and how determination and ambition can lead to success in sports and life. He lays out his "10 Life Lessons" at the onset and goes to great lengths to ensure every event in the story contains a teachable moment.
Positive Role Models
Derek Jeter was respected and admired as much for his sportsmanship, philanthropy, and personality off the field as he was for his incredibly accomplished career as a ballplayer. In The Contract, we get a fictionalized retelling of his upbringing in Kalamazoo, revealing how his supportive and loving parents, solid friendships, and dedication and sacrifice helped him achieve his life's dream.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Contract is the exciting, positive, and meaningful story of Yankee legend Derek Jeter's Little League experience as an ambitious 8-year-old in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This is Jeter's first book for children (written with veteran children's book author Paul Mitchell) and the first installment in a planned 10-part series documenting young Derek's journey from small-town recreational ball to the Major League.
Is It Any Good?
The Contract is a winner for kids who love baseball, and Jeter is a perfect role model for any competitor, the embodiment of class and leadership. Derek learns -- as all kids do, eventually -- that talent isn't enough to succeed; it requires hard work, a support system, and the ability to balance different challenges at the same time.
Though the writing definitely hits the reader over the head with the morals and messages, it's inspirational nonetheless to see how crucial a role Jeter's family played in his development, especially knowing that in the end young Derek does succeed, beyond even his wildest dreams. The baseball scenes are when the book gets fun, capturing the intense psychology and ups and downs of Little League accurately and with pizzazz.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.