Reviews for One-handed Catch : Library Edition


AudioFile Reviews 2008 December/January 2009
When 11-year-old Norm loses his hand in a meat grinder, life becomes a series of challenges. Norm's dream of playing baseball seems impossible. Spurred on by his mother and his friend Leon, Norm meets every obstacle with grit and ingenuity. This full-cast audiobook enlivens Norm's family-friendly story, set in the 1940s. Ryan Sparkes captures Norm's myriad emotions in a clear, precise delivery, and his voice is appealing. Secondary characters are equally strong. Listeners will feel this story is immediate and heartfelt, but never sappy. Jazzy music sets the tone for each episode in Norm's life. Also included is an interview with the author and her husband, Herm, whose story inspired the character of Norm. C.A. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 November

Gr 5-9--Mary Jane Auch's novel (Holt, 2006), narrated by 11-year-old Norm Schmidt, opens on the morning of July 4, 1946, with the whole town excited that rationing is over and fireworks are back. Norm, helping out in his family's meat market, catches his hand in the meat grinder and is rushed to the hospital. His hand must be amputated, and his dreams of bikes, cars, baseball, and drawing may be over. His parents react to the accident in different ways. His father becomes stoic with guilt, and his mother insists that Norm learn to do everything for himself. When Norm's best buddy tries to convince him to give up on baseball, the boy only becomes more fired up to try harder. An article about a one-handed major league pitcher provides additional encouragement. Norm also learns to fit back into life at school as a result of his mother's admonition to his teachers that he get no special treatment and a new friend who helps him become more confident of his artistic abilities. A colorful bully, Norm's best friend's sense of humor, the Boy Scouts, and baseball add to the fun. Listening to this book is like falling into a Norman Rockwell painting and getting to live among genuine post-war Americans. Narration by Ryan Sparkes and the Full Cast Family is enjoyable and well done. Period music and an interview with the author and her husband, whose childhood inspired the novel, add to this superior production. Fans of John Ritter's The Boy Who Saved Baseball (Philomel, 2003), Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf, 2003), and Edward Bloor's Tangerine (Harcourt, 1997) will enjoy this audiobook.--Jo-Ann Carhart, East Islip Public Library, NY

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