“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dugout Rivals • Middle-grade fiction

Dugout Rivals
by Fred Bowen    
New! (March 2010)
Peachtree Publishers Middle Grade Fiction Ages 9-12
Last year Jake was one of his team's best players. But this season it looks like a new kid is going to take Jake's place as team leader. Can Jake settle for second-best?
Story:  Jake is pumped about the upcoming season. He’s a pretty good shortstop, but there’s a new kid Adam who can do it all — pitch, hit, and field.  Adam’s talents start to dominate every game and Jake resents all the attention he’s getting. Everything changes, however, when Jake learns something about Adam and something about himself. 
Story behind the story:  Bowen gives us "The Real Story" behind DUGOUT RIVALS: "In team sports there is no such thing as a one-man (or one-woman) team. Even the greatest players need help. They need good teammates. There are many terrific players who may have appeared to play in the shadows of their superstar teammates, but who made major contributions to their teams in their own rights, including Lou Gehrig (Babe Ruth), Joe DiMaggio (Lou Gehrig), Scottie Pippen (Michael Jordan), and Kristine Lilley (Mia Hamm)."

Bowen now writes a weekly sports column for kids in the Washington Post and has been a sports fan since "I was a kid. My best childhood memories are from playing Little League in the park and basketball on the playground. I can still remember home runs, bad calls, and great comebacks from those games. My favorite reading back then was sports fiction and the sports section in the newspaper. Many of today's kids are as sports-crazy as I was. And I am thinking about them as I write my books and my columns." All of the books in the Fred Bowen Sports Story Series are based on real-life figures or situations from sports history."

"Bowen is quickly joining the ranks of today's most popular sports fiction authors." - School Library Journal 

"Bowen is a natural when it comes to writing sport stories and informing his readers about the past. These books are perfect for kids ages 8 to 12." - Newsday


Julia Pitau said...

Dugout Rivals is a solid hitting book about baseball. This series should prove to be popular with our sports-minded students. I was grateful the author included a girl on the team and made sure the "rival" character wasn't exactly perfect, nor was he evil. Even though the ending was predictable to me, I still enjoyed it. If you're a Matt Christopher fan, then here's a new series for you! As an added treat, the publisher graciously included an advanced copy of Throwing Heat, another well-written baseball story.

Picnic Rating: A Solid 3

Denair Charter Academy
Learning Center

Anonymous said...

Fred Bowen hit one out of the ballpark! This book is perfect for students who love sports especially baseball. Yes, the ending is predictable, but isn't that refreshing? This book is not just about baseball, but also about the value of teamwork, work ethic, friendships and community. This book gets a 5 out of 5! Job well done.

Carrie Blagg, Librarian Assistant
Paradise Valley, AZ

reedertwins said...

Once I started reading Dugout Rivals, I couldn't put it down. I loved the interaction between the "rivals", and felt that the author represented the "rival" character honestly. I felt that this book would be perfect for any kid third grade and older. Like the other comments, I agree that this series is perfect for the Matt Christopher fans. I give this book a Picnic Rating of a 4.

K. Reeder
K-5 Media Specialist
Mallard Creek Elementary

M. Battista said...

I just finished reading Throwing Heat. I already have several students in mind who will thoroughly enjoy this series. It's a perfect fit for readers who have already read the Matt Christopher books, but aren't quite ready for the Mike Lupica books. There were a lot of baseball facts used in the story and it's great that the sources are listed in the Acknowledgments. Unfortunately Wikipedia is the first source mentioned. I am constantly encouraging students to look beyond Wikipedia for reliable information. Overall I think these will be popular reads for our sports loving students.

Rating: 3.5

M. Battista
Denair Elementary School Library
Denair, CA