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Summary: It is the most important game of the year! Colin, who has been sitting on the bench all year, is hoping that he will finally get a chance to play baseball. With the score tied and the game on the line, Coach Lee wants his strongest hitter at the plate. But his strongest hitter wants Colin to bat for him. Other teammates chime in, and Coach relents. Colin steps to the plate and has a chance to hit the game-winner. Can he do it? This is a story about friendship with children who have special needs.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, easy reader
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 5 to 9
Reading Level: 3.6
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: Although the story emphasizes that Colin is a child of Down Syndrome, every kid who feels left out or on the "D team" will relate to this story. The happy ending is predictable, but appropriate. Children ages 6 to 24 created the illustrations. In some places, their crayon art helped tell the story. In others, they seemed out of place.
Pros: All children can relate to this story of wanting to belong and be part of a team.
Cons: All of the text - including conversations - are bunched into one paragraph at the bottom of the page. This detracts from the story. The author also lost an opportunity to talk about Down syndrome. With no fact sheet or discussion questions, families/teachers not familiar with Down will not be able to answer their child's questions. He continually emphasized that Colin doesn't "look the same," but lots of books emphasize that. He also said Colin has an extra twenty-first chromosone; the intended audience won't know what that means.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Despite the main character, the story is a common one and there are other, stronger books that talk about giving everyone a chance.