________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 11 . . . . February 1, 2002

cover Power Hitter. (Sports Stories, v41).

C.A. Forsyth.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2001.
86 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55028-732-X (pbk.), ISBN 1-55028-733-8 (cl.).

Grades 3-8 /Ages 8-13.

Review by Gillian Noonan.

* /4


I trotted out to left field, hoping that Griffin wasn't lying about how busy I'd be. I checked out Austin in right field, who was just standing there like I was, shading his eyes with his glove.

Griffin put the first two batters away easily. I figured we'd be off the field in quick order. Ha! I heard that unmistakable sound of ball hitting bat and started looking around wildly. Griffin was yelling my name and pointing in the air over my head. I looked up, but all I could see was sun. I was still looking up when I heard a soft thud behind me.

Swinging around, I spied the ball in the grass only a metre away. I grabbed it but then realized I had no idea what to do with it. Was I supposed to run with it?

Connor Wells, 13, is spending his summer holidays in Winnipeg with his baseball loving cousins, the Campbell's. The problem is Connor knows nothing about the game, a situation which must change. C.A. Forsyth's novel, Power Hitter, chronicles Connor's baseball summer with his relatives. For the baseball fan, this latest novel in the "Sports Stories" series will be an opportunity to cheer for an unlikely hero as he learns the rudiments of the game while displaying his prowess at driving the ball over the farthest fence. The detailed accurate descriptions of playing baseball will be most enjoyable. The fact that Connor's mother is at home in Ontario battling cancer and his father is in Florida celebrating with his new wife the birth of a son will not matter.

     Forsyth spends little time exploring these other themes in Connor's life. They are not of any consequence other than to provide the circumstances necessary to get Connor to his ball-loving cousins. This omission is the major flaw of Power Hitter. Connor's reactions to his situation with his parents is somewhat unbelievable. Connor does not know his mother has cancer or that his father has remarried and has a new son until he overhears a conversation. His reaction is brief, yet angry, and quickly given a back seat to a ball practice and the game. He is easily satisfied with a few kind words and accepting of his mother's illness after a short apology from her. Connor's emotional growth has no parallel in this story with his physical development as a baseball player.

     If you want to read about the development of a young ball player's skills, you will enjoy reading Power Hitter. If you want to read about the emotional development of a ball player in the face of personal adversity, look elsewhere.

Not Recommended.

Gillian Martin Noonan is a teacher living in Old Perlican, Newfoundland.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364