Reviews for One-handed Catch
Booklist Reviews 2006 October #1
A strong sense of purpose, leavened by generous doses of humor and post-World War II period detail, drives this story of a resilient middle-grader who demonstrates that having one hand is an opportunity rather than a handicap. Having lost his left hand to a meat grinder, Norm finds his world has become a complicated place, where even common activities such as tying shoelaces or playing baseball seem impossible. However, with plenty of pushing from his tough-love mother, who challenges him to get things done and firmly checks his efforts to trade on his disability to get special treatment, Norm not only gets by but also blossoms. He finds ways to display both musical and artistic talent as he stubbornly and inventively teaches himself to play ball well enough to earn a spot on a summer league team. Loosely based on childhood experiences of the author's husband, this story offers both inspiration and useful information, deftly wrapped in an engaging narrative. ((Reviewed October 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring
The boyhood experiences of Auch's husband influenced this well-told story set in 1946. After Norm loses his hand in a meat-grinder accident, his mother insists he can still do everything he did with two hands, but his best friend acts as if Norm can't do anything. Readers will be inspired by Norm's story, as he finds ways to play baseball one-handed and achieve scholastically, musically, and artistically. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2006 September #2
Norm's life is changed forever on July 4, 1946, by a freak accident in which he loses his left hand. How is he to tie a shoelace, cut his food and manage the myriad of other essential daily tasks, let alone ride a bike and play baseball? The people in his life fall into two categories: those that see only the things he can't do, and those who encourage him to see each problem as a puzzle to be solved. He is determined not only to meet the daily challenges, but to play baseball as well. Emulating the strategies of one-armed major-leaguer Pete Gray, Norm creates ingenious ways to practice fielding, throwing and batting, and becomes a valued member of his team. Norm, based on the life of the author's husband, is a hero, but not a saint. Auch handles his emotions and those of his family and friends believably and never patronizes her characters or her readers by becoming maudlin. Moving and thought-provoking. (author's note) (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Reviews 2006 November
PreS-Gr 2 Set just after World War II, Auch's novel tells of 11-year-old Norm, whose family owns a meat market. On the Fourth of July, while helping his dad in the store, he gets his hand caught in the meat grinder and loses it. He then faces the challenges of one-handed shoe tying, band practice, and his dream of being a baseball player. The climax is, of course, the big game and Norm's chance to prove himself to his peers and community. The gruesome accident is the only jarring note in this otherwise light, humorous tale. Norm's inner voice is generally calm, and his jocular exchanges with his friend Leon provide comic relief. His mother's fierce attempts to keep her son independent and his father's silent guilt round out the family picture that feels immediate in many ways, even though the story is set in 1946. While the rosy worldview may be slightly exaggerated, there's a small-town interconnectedness between the episodic chapters that will keep the pages turning. One-Handed Catch is an enjoyable read on the popular theme of overcoming adversity. Pitch it alongside Joseph Bruchac's The Warriors (Darby Creek) and John H. Ritter's The Boy Who Saved Baseball (Philomel, both 2003) as a sports fiction title. Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT [Page 129]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2006 October
When eleven-year-old Norm lost his left hand in an accident at his father's store, he feared that he would never be able to play baseball again. Through perseverance and creativity, however, he continues to pursue his passion. Norm's mother provides tough love that never allows him to use his disability as an excuse, and Norm's friend Leon always remains loyal. As the story progresses, Norm overcomes many obstacles with wit and optimism-his first day back at school, his first gym class, and more. His ultimate triumph is when he is chosen to play on the summer league baseball team Set just after the end of World War II, Auch's novel is a heartwarming story of family and friendship. There are no surprises here, just quality writing and a protagonist who will inspire readers and convince them that handicaps are limitations only if you let them be. Auch's husband lost his hand as a child, and he assisted the author by relating stories of his childhood and how he learned to play baseball with one hand. The fact that some of the happenings in the story are based on true events lends authenticity to the writing. The book's title might mislead teens who are looking for a sports read loaded with game descriptions, but it is a minor criticism. Refer interested teens to books and stories on major league pitcher Jim Abbott.-Dave Goodale 4Q 3P M Copyright 2006 Voya Reviews.