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One-Handed Catch

by Auch, Mary Jane


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PreS-Gr 2–Set just after World War II, Auch's novel tells of 11-year-old Norm, whose family owns a meat market. On the Fourth of July, while helping his dad in the store, he gets his hand caught in the meat grinder and loses it. He then faces the challenges of one-handed shoe tying, band practice, and his dream of being a baseball player. The climax is, of course, the big game and Norm's chance to prove himself to his peers and community. The gruesome accident is the only jarring note in this otherwise light, humorous tale. Norm's inner voice is generally calm, and his jocular exchanges with his friend Leon provide comic relief. His mother's fierce attempts to keep her son independent and his father's silent guilt round out the family picture that feels immediate in many ways, even though the story is set in 1946. While the rosy worldview may be slightly exaggerated, there's a small-town interconnectedness between the episodic chapters that will keep the pages turning. One-Handed Catch is an enjoyable read on the popular theme of overcoming adversity. Pitch it alongside Joseph Bruchac's The Warriors (Darby Creek) and John H. Ritter's The Boy Who Saved Baseball (Philomel, both 2003) as a sports fiction title.–Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT

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From BookList, October 1, 2006, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Fichier HTML A strong sense of purpose, leavened by generous doses of humor and post-World War II period detail, drives this story of a resilient middle-grader who demonstrates that having one hand is an opportunity rather than a handicap. Having lost his left hand to a meat grinder, Norm finds his world has become a complicated place, where even common activities such as tying shoelaces or playing baseball seem impossible. However, with plenty of pushing from his tough-love mother, who challenges him to get things done and firmly checks his efforts to trade on his disability to get special treatment, Norm not only gets by but also blossoms. He finds ways to display both musical and artistic talent as he stubbornly and inventively teaches himself to play ball well enough to earn a spot on a summer league team. Loosely based on childhood experiences of the author's husband, this story offers both inspiration and useful information, deftly wrapped in an engaging narrative.
JohnPeters.

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