by Linda Sue Park
(J Fic Park)
Maggie is a huge fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The year is 1953, and she like everyone else in her neighborhood follows the games religiously. Jim, a new recruit at the local fire station, proves to be a good friend despite his being a Giants fan. He teaches her how to keep score of all of the plays during a baseball game. Soon Maggie is developing extra notations to keep track of the plays that interest her. When Jim is drafted to fight in the Korean War, Maggie applies her new skills as a Baseball statistician to help herself understand the conflict. Maggie sends Jim letters every month, but then Jim's answering letters stop coming. No one will tell Maggie what is happening. Is there a way for Maggie to help Jim?
Maggie is a great character. Despite her brother's frequently condescending attitude about her interest in baseball, she doesn't get discouraged. Instead she finds a way all her own to enjoy the sport that she loves. When her friend is hurt, she applies that same tenacity to finding ways to help him. There are several really good supporting characters in this book including Maggie's mother and best friend. The book includes several author notes both about baseball and about the War in Korea that add interest to the story.
Though I'm not at all a sports fan, I love stories about sports. Maybe it is the tension and conflict? This was such a fun book to read. I'm even thinking of trying to learn to keep score during a baseball game just because this book made it sound so interesting--and I'm horrible at math!