Reviews for Slugger


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Catching, throwing, and running the bases doesn't come naturally to a slug, but hard work, practice, and some unique problem-solving land Ollie a spot on the Creepy Crawlers. When the crucial moment arrives, Ollie hits one out of the park and wins it for the team. The illustrations are nothing special, but the predictable story reinforces the benefits of practice and determination.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 March #1
A slug with dreams of baseball glory finds success on the diamond thanks to a modified helmet. Ollie loves everything about baseball, especially his favorite team, the Creepy Crawlers. He longs to join such stars as Grasshopper Bob, Bombardier Bill, Mickey Mantis and Babe Beetle. But how? With no arms, he can't very well pitch or catch, and he doesn't exactly light up the base paths with his speed. His only hope is to become a slugger, but there's still that no-arms problem. Ollie is nothing if not persistent, though. Equipped with a helmet-mounted bat, he whiffs at pitch after pitch from pal Sammy Stinkbug in private practice till, finally, he clobbers one. Despite not having witnessed this, Coach Roach gives him one try, and on a made-to-slug-order rainy, sloppy day, Ollie drives in Grasshopper Bob for victory and a place in the lineup. There's not much to make the story stand out; Ollie's success is a foregone conclusion, and his path to it is so truncated it would be unbelievable even if he did have arms. There's mild amusement in Slonim's depictions of Ollie twisting himself into knots, eyestalks crossed crazily as he powers the business end of his bat through a swing. The illustrations don't follow through on the story's logic, though, picturing him somehow holding variously a bag of popcorn and a book despite his armlessness. A blooper. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 August

K-Gr 2--The expression "slugger" takes on an entirely new meaning in this tale of a slug with a dream of playing ball. Ollie practices relentlessly for a spot on Coach Roach's insect-infested baseball team, and he finally earns his chance during the big game against the Swingin' Stingers. He scoots up to the muddy plate and, predictably, drives home the winning run. Googly-eyed characters don incredulous expressions as they participate in the sport. Pointed references take a humorous stab at some of the greatest players of all time (e.g.,"Mickey Mantis," "Babe Beetle," et al). While the convenient ending lacks drama, Ollie's feverish determination adds some intensity. "Day after day, in wind…and rain…and sweltering sun, he kept at it." The acrylic, pencil, and ball-point-pen illustrations capture the nimble expressions of the animated backyard critters and use pale colors to convey the mass of the crowds. Some of the jokes fall flat ("It was a SLUGGIFEROUS DAY!"), but all in all, Ollie's efforts move the plot along.--Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC

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