The Dog that Called the Pitch by Matt Christopher
I have to admit some bias here because the starring terrier, Harry, looks just like my very own dog. Sure Harry’s an Airedale, not a Welsh, but it will do. As far as I’m aware this is the easiest level of sports book written by Christopher, who is a prolific writer of children’s books. The addition of the dog furthers the appeal to young readers and there are illustrations on nearly every page.
As is the case with most of Christopher’s writing, this book will be indecipherable (not to mention mind numbingly boring) to anyone without a strong grasp of baseball, because the main action of the book is a description of the game. The intrigue in this entry in “The Dog Who…” series (Yes! A series!) lies with the umpire. You see Harry the dog and Mike communicate via ESP. And who doesn’t want a baseball savvy dog with ESP, am I right? The problem is, for some reason, the umpire of this game also has ESP. When the umps glasses break during the game, Harry the dog can save the day by calling the pitches. The only problem is, Mike is the pitcher. Can Harry be trusted to be honest?
Great for: This is uniquely positioned at a reading level that largely lacks quality writing. It’s often a hit with athletic or sports crazed kids who are reluctant to read (especially as they get older and lag in reading skills) because it features something they do feel knowledgable about. Additionally, because it’s a series, you can offer them several before you have to turn to something else.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – Not really.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.