Scaletta, Kurtis. 2012. Jinxed! A Topps League Story. Illustrated by Eric Wright. New York: Amulet.
(Advance Reader Copy supplied by publisher)
I don't review too many early chapter books, and I admit that I'm not usually (OK, almost never) fond of "tie-in" books, but here's an exception. Topps, of trading card fame, has teamed up with Amulet books for a series of baseball-themed chapter books - complete with trading cards. So, what's the trade-off here? What does Topps get from this publishing deal? It appears that the books' protagonist, Chad, a young baseball fan with a huge baseball card collection, will use information about real players from real cards to help solve problems within the story line. But hey, baseball cards have worked out well for Dan Gutman (his latest is Ted & Me, Harper Collins, 2012), and I think they'll work out well for Kurtis Scaletta as well. Here's why ...
he knows baseball, he can write with a boy's voice, and he's pretty funny. What more do you need?
Jinxed! begins with Chad hoping to land a job as a batboy for the minor league Porcupines. His dad suggests that he send a resume.
"What's a rez-u-may?" I asked him. That's how he said it: "rez-u-may."[an image of Chad's resume appears here]
"It's a list of all your past jobs and your accomplishments," he said.
"I've never had a job."
"Good point," my dad said. "But you do have a lot of accomplishments."
So I got on the computer and typed up my accomplishments. It took me all day.
"I've never seen "I have my own resume" on a person's resume before," Dad said when I was done.
"But I worked really hard on it."
"Good point. It looks great. Let's mail it tomorrow."
Chad gets the job with the Porcupines, along with another boy from his class. He's thrilled to find that one of his major league heroes, Mike Stammer, is down with the Porcupines, though it's due largely to the fact that he's getting on in years and slumping badly. Everyone is convinced that Mike has the jinx. Could Chad be the guy to break it?
A perfect choice for elementary school fans of baseball and series books. My library doesn't have these yet, but I hope I'll be seeing them soon.
The illustrations will be done by Eric Wight (of Frankie Pickle fame), but were not completed in my galley proof. Here's a link to one illustration on the author's website.
The second book in the series, Steal that Base!, is also on shelves now.
It's opening day. "Hope springs eternal ..." (Alexander Pope)
In baseball, there is no day filled with more possibility than this one. Go Phils!