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The Aurora County All-Stars
Synopses & Reviews
Twelve-year-old House Jackson--star pitcher and team captain of the Aurora County All-Stars--has been sidelined for a whole sorry year with a broken elbow. He's finally ready to play, but wouldn't you know that the team's only game of the year has been scheduled for the exact same time as the town's 200th-anniversary pageant. Now House must face the pageant's director, full-of-herself Frances Shotz (his nemesis and perpetrator of the elbow break), and get his team out of this mess. There's also the matter of a mysterious old recluse who has died and left House a wheezy old dog named Eudora Welty--and a puzzling book of poetry by someone named Walt Whitman.
Through the long, hot month of June, House makes surprising and valuable discoveries about family, friendship, poetry . . . and baseball.
"'Batter up! National Book Award finalist Wiles (Each Little Bird That Sings) delivers the third book set in her fictional Aurora County — a more boy-friendly read than its predecessors, with plenty of talk about baseball and what constitutes a stalwart team. Twelve-year-old House Jackson, the Aurora County All-Stars captain and star pitcher, has slogged through the preceding year with an out-of-commission elbow. Instead of playing baseball, he's spent most of his time indoors, reading the classics to an old recluse, Mr. Norwood Rhinehart Beauregard Boyd. But when Mr. Boyd dies, House is reminded of his itch to play. Unfortunately, the All-Stars' only game of the year is scheduled for the same day as Aurora County's 200th anniversary pageant, an event directed by pesky 14-year-old Frances Shotz, the girl who broke House's elbow. After a series of minor mishaps, betrayals and bouts of miscommunication, House and Frances work out a hilarious compromise that all readers can root for. In the spirit of Ernest Thayer's poem, 'Casey at the Bat,' the energy during the game mounts, and sports fans will be on the edge of their seats to see which team triumphs. Quotations from Walt Whitman's poetry, baseball players and Aurora County news dispatches pepper the story and add color; Love, Ruby Lavender fans will enjoy Ruby's fortuitous cameo. A home run for Wiles. Ages 10-up.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
"Wiles' first two tales of fictitious Aurora County, Miss. — 'Love,' 'Ruby Lavender' and National Book Award finalist 'Each Little Bird That Sings' — were as warm, sweet and full of down-home Southern goodness as just-baked applesauce cake. They also starred girls. Now Wiles gives us Aurora County through the eyes of a boy, 12-year-old baseball hotshot and budding philosopher House Jackson, but she... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) sticks to her winning recipe. There's much to savor: bubbly prose (a little girl 'twinkles' down some steps, House 'bulldozes' to a stage); a dog named Eudora Welty and a kid named Parting Schotz; a wonderfully convoluted plot involving an old man's death 'at the simmering time just before daybreak,' a sheaf of Walt Whitman quotes; a Fourth of July pageant; lots of baseball lore; and a cliffhanger of an all-star game that brings the whole town together. As one character sighs, 'It's positively Thornton Wilder.' But it's Thornton Wilder on a sugar high — and that's some high. Elizabeth Ward can be reached at warde(at symbol)washpost.com." Reviewed by Elizabeth Ward, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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What's more important than baseball?
About the Author
DEBORAH WILES is a first-time novelist. She has worked as a journalist and a radio commentator, and she teaches writing and oral history workshops for children. She lives in Maryland.
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