Stumptown Kid
Stumptown Kid
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Annotation: In a small Iowa town in 1952, eleven-year-old Charlie Nebraska, whose father died in the Korean War, learns the meanings of both racism and heroism when he befriends a black man who had played baseball in the Negro Leagues.
Catalog Number: #4711903
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition Date: 2005
Pages: 224 pages
Availability: Indefinitely Out of Stock
ISBN: 1-561-45337-4
ISBN 13: 978-1-561-45337-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2004019835
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
The authors incorporate tried-and-true elements into a competent, if unexceptional, historical novel. Still grieving over the death of his father in the Korean War, young Charlie latches onto Luther Peale, a former Negro League pitcher, who is laying low after he accidentally pitched a ball that killed a player in another state. As Luther's coaching turns Charlie and some friends into a team good enough to take on the local champs, Charlie sees his quiet friend's presence opening up racial divisions in town; encounters a bully (who has been abused); watches his best buddy drift away; behaves badly toward the salesman who is courting his remarkably patient mother; and blurts out Luther's secret. The climax arrives with the advent of the slain player's murderous brother. Matt Christopher fans may want more baseball action, but kids looking for a lightweight read will find a cast easily broken down into heroes and villains, and all the side plots tidily resolved by the end.
Horn Book
This simplified account of Pocahontas's life and of fifteenth-century European and Native American relations strives for cultural sensitivity in the text and in the brightly colored illustrations, but many details are presented without any interpretation. Small text boxes and a final page add facts to a book that's a good reader but simplistic history. Ind.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8 Themes of honesty, loyalty, and heroism are imbedded in this powerful, fast-paced story set in a small Iowa town in 1952. Charlie Nebras, 11, misses his father, who died in the Korean War; dislikes his mother's domineering, prejudiced boyfriend, Vern; and loves baseball but is cut from the premier Wildcats team. Into his life walks Luther Peale, a former Negro Leagues player who is on the run after a wild pitch accidentally killed a drunk, white batter. Luther serves up baseball expertise and kindness, and Charlie becomes his friend, inviting the young man home for dinner and helping him find a job. When Luther agrees to coach Charlie's "Stumptown" team in a game against the Wildcats, wary white parents and townspeople become more accepting. His fugitive past is revealed, however, and a harrowing chase pits Charlie and Luther against the vengeful, murderous brother of the dead batter. Charlie is a feisty, lonely kid who fiercely defends Luther and recognizes Vern's sinister deceit. Devoted to her son and his happiness, his mother gradually realizes the truth about her boyfriend, who aids Luther's attacker. Luther is compassionate, knowledgeable, and resourceful. He and Charlie become mutually supportive and protective as they confront racism and revenge. Readers will enjoy this winning mix of sports, suspense, and heroism, and delight in the baseball wit and wisdom. Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (4/1/05)
Horn Book (4/1/01)
School Library Journal (5/1/05)
Word Count: 50,315
Reading Level: 3.7
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.7 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 102992 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.2 / points:12.0 / quiz:Q39933
Lexile: 620L
Guided Reading Level: W
Fountas & Pinnell: W

Twelve-year-old Charlie Nebraska wants two things he cant get: to make the local baseball team and to have life to return to the way it was before his father died two years earlier in the Korean War.
When Charlie meets Luther Peale, a stranger who quietly and mysteriously arrives in Charlies small Iowa town, and sets up camp near the river, the two strike up a friendship. Luther is a former Negro Baseball League player, and he agrees to coach Charlies fledgling neighborhood baseball team.
But many of the towns white residents are suspicious of Luther because of his skin color. And when Charlie inadvertently reveals a secret of Luthers, violence erupts in the town and both Luther and Charlie are drawn into serious danger.
Authors Carol Gorman and Ron J. Findley have created two highly memorable, emotionally complex characters in this dramatic story set in the days of the Negro Leagues that illustrates the meanings of friendship, prejudice, and heroism.

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