Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Out in Left Field

Lemna, Don. Out in Left Field.
Publication 1 April 2012, Holiday House.

In this sequel to
When the Sergeant Came Marching Home (which I haven't read; it didn't affect my comprehension) set in 1947, Donald flubs catching a pop fly at the before school baseball game with a rival town, and feels that he let down the entire town. When school starts, he tries one scheme after another to redeem himself-- he saves up for an archery set, learns to drive a truck, takes up hockey, and generally tries to find something to set himself apart while enduring the taunts of his classmates. Life has its ups and downs-- the family's crops do well enough to get electricity in their house, relatives come and go, and school has its crises and triumphs. In the end, Donald realizes that one bad baseball game won't ruin his life.
Strengths: This reminded me very strongly of Homer Price, with small but telling illustrations at the beginning of the chapter, and the same leisurely descriptions of life as the year rolls on. I strongly suspect (but haven't been able to find out for sure) that Mr. Lemna grew up during this historical period reading Homer Price, and these books are his very fond memoirs. Could be wrong. I feel like I should give the book to my dad to read.
Weaknesses: There was not as much baseball as the cover would indicate, and this lacked a unique hook.

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