Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Jackson is looking forward to the upcoming baseball season. He'll be playing with all his friends, and he'll be playing his favorite position - shortstop. It should be a terrific season!

As practice begins it looks like everything is shaping up just as Jackson expected. However, things are about to change. First, the team is short a second baseman. Who can they get to fill the spot? Coach tries Trenton at second base and it's a disaster.

Then a new player shows up. The player has talent and shows promise. The only thing is - she's a girl and she plays with a hot pink glove. It's Gig's sister. This could be a good thing for the team, but Gig isn't happy about having a girl on the team, much less having it be his sister. Jackson doesn't honestly see a problem with it since she's a decent player, and she's filling a needed role.

The other problem early on in the season involves the injured catcher. A broken ankle knocks him off the team, and Coach picks Jackson to replace him. His dream of playing shortstop is shattered. Can he make the best of it or will it ruin his love of the game?

TOP OF THE ORDER is author, John Coy's first venture into writing for a middle grade audience, and he's done an excellent job. His characters are likeable and believable from their love of baseball to their typical sibling rivalry. The characters come from a variety of backgrounds creating appeal for all readers.

Coy writes great play-by-play action scenes for the baseball portions of the book. They are engaging even for those not familiar with the game. Jackson and his teammates learn the technicalities of the game and how to handle themselves as good sportsman on and off the field.

Another unique aspect of Coy's novel is the inclusion of a writing component. Jackson's teacher invites an author into the classroom to help students with their writing. The author works with the kids and models many standard writing practices used in actual classrooms today. Teacher should be thrilled to see their work put into practice within an actual novel for kids.

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