Although I don’t often read middle-grade novels, I like reading different genres so all the books don’t blur into one. Lately, I’ve been reading so many art and design books (that I will review in the future), so for now, I want to kick back and relax with some light-hearted novels about friendship.
Buddies, Bullies and Baseball
by Phyllis J. Perry
get it here
*note: the Goodread’s summary is a big, long spoiler, so here’s the summary a spoiler-free summary.
Jack dreads going to school and does everything he possibly can to avoid having Steve and Cliff, his bully classmates, steal his lunch and make him miserable. He finds different ways to get to school – taking a different route, riding his bike, catching a very early ride in his dad’s car – all to be greeted by dead ends.
Lizabeth and C.J are Jack’s best friends. While C.J. struggles in school, Lizabeth is spunky and won’t put up with dirty tricks from Steve and Cliff. Although the 3 seem different, they all share one interest – baseball. In comes Hans Ollig from Germany. He speaks only a little English and is trying hard to learn from other kids. Jack, who already has his own struggles, is assigned to show Hans around the school.
With new and old friends, pestering bullies and a big baseball game coming up, what will Jack do?
*A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I’m very surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this. I didn’t really have high expectations, since I barely know a thing about baseball. I admit, I skipped past most of the baseball talk since I had no interest in it, but I enjoyed the book regardless.
This is a wholesome story on friendship, standing up to bullying, sprinkled with a whole lot of baseball references that flew over my head. “Buddies, Bullies, and Baseball” accurately describes everything that happens in this book. It is fast paced, slightly around 100+ pages which can easily be finished within 3 nights, and it’s also a good book about standing up to bullies. Although I didn’t like the main character much, the addition of Hans made this book so much better.
I really enjoyed some of the subplots in the book – the assignments, the new neighbours… it added more than just made a story centered around bullying. It was about learning and appreciating other cultures, respecting each other – good values expected from a children’s book! Still, I wished there was a bit of a redeeming arc to Steve and Cliff, since even though they were bullies, they were children who deserve help too.