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Book Report: The Basement Baseball Club

When Your Humble Blogger brings the little ones to the library, the Youngest Member makes a beeline for one particular computer: the one with the TumbleBook set-up. This is a semi-animated read-aloud deal; the Y.M. likes to watch and listen to a couple of Caillou stories. And no others. Any attempt to choose any other story will end in howls of defiant woe.

Now, YHB has never liked the little bald canuck. So I prefer to browse for myself whilst the Youngest Member is under the spell. However, I have to stay within eyesight of the little momser, since (a) otherwise the librarians will get all stern and whatnot, and (2) if his incessant fiddling with the keyboard and mouse results in the halting of the software, I’ve got about ten seconds to get it started again before he raises the fucking roof.

Digression: It turns out that when your darling little one, the fruit of your loins and the apple of your proverbial, is playing at the library’s extensive play kitchen, and he is clawing half-a-dozen plastic cookies out of the hands of the other toddlers while hollering “Share! Share!!! SHARE!!!!!!” at the top of his lungs, the other parents laugh at you. End Digression.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that I have a pretty short tether, and yet I have to find something or I will wind up watching Caillou’s papa build him a treasure chest for his toys again. And the nearest shelf to that computer section is the chapter books on sports. So I picked up The Basement Baseball Club, by Jeffrey Kelly, and got so engrossed in it that I wound up checking it out and taking it home to finish.

Somehow I never read this one when I was a kid. Probably because it hadn’t been written yet. It seems like it’s one of those books I read when I was seven or eight. The kids play various games and have various problems. One of the reasons if feels seventies to me is that the problems are all fixed by simply facing them; our narrator turns out to have a severe fear of heights which he overcomes with the help of some public shaming at the pool’s high dive, and the main plot involves a kid with tremendous athletic skills who was traumatized by having accidentally killed another kid in a hardball game the previous year. And who overcomes his trauma because the neighborhood sandlot team needs him. You know. On the other hand, it was a lot of fun, and it’s not like I am thrilled by a more realistic portrayal of trauma, phobia or mental illness in books for seven-year-olds. So there’s that.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,