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Michael Jordan. Return of the Home Run Kid.

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Dale Earnhardt Sr. Soccer Scoop. On the Ice with Mario Lemieux. Football Double Threat. Great Moments in Basketball History. Play Ball! Derek Jeter.

  • Matt Christopher - Author.
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Soccer 'Cats 1: The Captain Contest. Jackie Robinson. Babe Ruth. Lacrosse Firestorm. Body Check. The Lucky Baseball Bat. Catch That Pass! Snowboard Maverick. The New York Yankees. The Reluctant Pitcher. Soccer Hero. Stephanie Peters.

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Ice Magic. On the Halfpipe with Tony Hawk. Dwight Howard. The Comeback Challenge. Soccer Halfback. Baseball Flyhawk. Mountain Bike Mania. Snowboard Champ. Tara Lapinski. Great Moments in Baseball History. Emmitt Smith. Double Play at Short. The Super Bowl. Skateboard Tough.

mia hamm on the field with matt christopher sports bio bookshelf Manual

In the Huddle with John Elway. The Great Quarterback Switch. Skateboard Renegade. Soccer 'Cats 2: Operation Baby-Sitter. Snowboard Showdown. Muhammad Ali. Tough to Tackle. Soccer 'Cats 4: Hat Trick. The Spy on Third Base. Goalkeeper in Charge. Penalty Shot. Soccer 'Cats 3: Secret Weapon. Football Fugitive. Soccer Duel. Long Arm Quarterback. Stealing Home. On the Bike with Lance Armstrong. The boy proves his story by exposing the spy, and learns a lesson about honesty along the way.

This is one of Christopher's weaker efforts, delivering more of a second-rate mystery than his typical, fast-paced sports story. The foreshadowing and development of the far-fetched plot take away from any semblance of characterization beyond the protagonist's and limit the amount of game description.

Further, few year-olds would think of offering money to an opposing player, much less provide him with a miniature camera for photographing a playbook. A little syrup is added when the perpetrator says he took and sold the pictures because his father was recently laid off. While the legions of Christopher's fans will undoubtedly read this one, they will also hope his next book offers more.

School Library Journal 39, no. As he did in The Dog That Pitched a No-Hitter Little, , the boy counts on his pet's encouragement whenever he plays, but now—on the day before the big game—Harry is grounded for nip-9 ping another dog. By the bottom of the last inning the score is tied, and Mike is sorely in need of Harry's advice, when Mom relents and arrives at the field with the Airedale.

Predictably, Mike scores the winning run. The story is somewhat contrived, but it will serve as an additional beginning chapter book for young baseball fans. Vasconcellos's humorous black-and-white line drawings add some appeal. Purchase where the previous book is a big hit. His on-field focus is further diluted by his concerns about a homemade-video contest he is preparing to enter and anonymous phone calls he's receiving. These calls are telling him to get his act together on the ball diamond, or else!

All of this is taking place during the youth championship play-offs where the award for the winners is a free trip to see the Major League World Series. Typical of Christopher's writing, the game action is the centerpiece of the book. His depiction of the five-game play-off is interspersed with Travis's efforts to determine who's placing the harassing calls and his attempts to piece together his video. The bit-too-neat ending finds the boy and his team successful on the field, the phone culprit revealed as a well-meaning acquaintance, and Travis beginning to feel accepted by his teammates off the field as well as on.

For purchase where the author's previous books are popular. School Library Journal 40, no. This time [in Top Wing ] the plot centers around a house fire that occurs while parents are out for the evening. Neighbor Mr. Bellamy rescues the two Crawford children, but suffers smoke inhalation. Later, the fire victims claim that Mr. Bellamy, an electrician, installed faulty wiring in their home.

This causes trouble between soccer teammates Dana Bellamy and Benton Crawford. If the wiring is not at fault, how did the fire start? Dana finds out something that could get Benton in trouble and has to confront him with the facts. Christopher reveals the clues slowly so that only astute readers will be able to solve the mystery before the ending.

He is best at describing sports play-by-play, and his readers will not be disappointed with the added suspense. Despite many misgivings about the sport not being as much fun as baseball, Jerry changes his mind after seeing his first meet. Except for one improbable dialogue between him and his friend Tanya about his new racing briefs, the book has realistic settings, feelings, and conversations. Jerry's character is fully realized as he is described working through his doubts, his "butterflies" before a race, and his pride in helping his team score points.

The author includes many terms familiar to competitive swimmers—disqualification, false starts, flip turns—and explains them in context. In addition, the story interweaves a comparison between the teamwork of baseball and the more individual approach of "personal best. In this case, Zero Ford wants to be an exceptional pitcher but it is not until he injures his hand that he discovers he can now throw a "slider"—a pitch guaranteed to strike out any batter. But can he duplicate his success when the bandage is removed from his hand? And, will the Peach Street Mudders be able to play if the coach is unable to find a substitute for himself while he is on vacation?

Zero finally musters up enough courage to try pitching without the bandage and to ask his uncle to take over coaching the team and all works out well in the end. An average sports story that will find a ready audience with the author's many fans. School Library Journal 41, no. When he notices something familiar about Tammy Aiken, a girl playing shortstop on a rival team, he studies her and even takes photos of her on the field.

Finally, Danny's mother reveals that he has a twin sister who was adopted by another family, and that they have just moved back into a nearby town. Christopher does his typically good job of describing the baseball play-by-play. However, he peppers this far-fetched plot with clues that are about as subtle as a ton of bricks.

Readers will find it implausible that Tammy would not only move back in town, but also end up playing shortstop, the same position as Danny on a rival baseball team. Also unbelievable is the fact that he would notice other similarities between himself and the girl—batting with the same left-handed stance and having the same grin.

When Danny finally blurts out the truth to his twin, she is shocked.

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Readers will be just as incredulous at the idea that Tammy's adoptive parents never believed the children would meet when they moved back into the area. Die-hard fans of Christopher may want to read this one, but it's not one of his most memorable books. School Library Journal 42, no.

The jokes, mostly dialogues, are largely unsuccessful: " Catcher : 'You look a little nervous out there today. Adding to the presentation are Vasconcellos's pen-and-ink cartoons, with a particularly effective frog in the outfield snaring a fly ball. This volume seems somewhat slapped together, but Christopher's popularity should keep it from collecting dust on the shelf.

These accounts depict the courageous aspects as well as the spectacular, including Dave Dravecky's comeback after cancer surgery, and the hobbled Kirk Gibson's game-winning home run in the World Series. Christopher tends to drift to his fictional roots as a number of the stories are laced with manufactured feelings, thoughts, and quotes.

He also tends to generalize: "As the crowd in Fenway Park watched Ted Williams run off the field for the last time, they told each other, 'There goes the greatest hitter that ever lived. While Christopher's legions of young fans will enjoy the book, a more straightforward account of memorable events in America's pastime can be found in Geoffrey Ward's 25 Great Moments in Baseball Knopf, , which is based on Ken Burns 's public-television series, Baseball, the American Epic.

School Library Journal 43, no. The book follows Young from his Mormon roots in Utah he's the great-great-great-grandson of Brigham Young , through his high school days and college career, to his early frustrations as a second stringer in the professional ranks and eventual triumph, leading the 49ers to the NFL championship in the season. At every stage of his career, the athlete has had to spend a good amount of time on the bench, waiting for his chance.

Off the field, Young leads a squeaky-clean life, and he also has earned a law degree. Christopher, as usual, comes through with exciting descriptions of games and insights into his subject's on-field success. Somewhat surprisingly, the presentation ends with the 49ers Super Bowl victory two seasons ago, with nothing about the past season.

A grouping of black-and-white photographs appears in the middle of the book. Hal Bock's Steve Young Chelsea, covers the same material in a shorter, less-extensive format. Somewhat reluctantly, he begins to help the local organization of "Rails to Trails" convert an abandoned rail bed into a bike path. A medical student and near Olympic-caliber cyclist encourages Doug to take up cycling; by the end of October, he's gotten into shape and wins a race.

Christopher does a good job of presenting the main character's early self-consciousness and eventual pride and confidence. The title is a little deceiving, since the book has nothing to do with the Olympics they are a distant, hazy dream of Doug's. However, as sports novels go, this one is fast, straightforward, and readable. The book ends with the Bulls' loss to Orlando in the season playoffs. Those familiar with the athlete's career will probably already know some of the anecdotes covered in this book.

For example, there's the oft-repeated fact that Jordan didn't make the varsity basketball squad in his sophomore year in high school, and his trials as a minor league baseball player are common knowledge. Yet, many fans will find this clearly written title among the most satisfying of all of the Jordan biographies. Although the author mentions controversies involving his subject's gambling and the tragedy of his father's murder, he recognizes that what many sports fans want is the highlights of players' careers and meaty descriptions of their key games.

On these points Christopher scores. Being superstitious, he feels jinxed when his father mentions the record and is further stressed when someone locks him and a teammate in his family's shed, causing him to be late for one of the season's final games. Arriving during the second inning, Nicky finds his hitting skills haven't been affected by his father's statement, thus diminishing his fervent belief in superstitions.

Furthermore, he's able to deduct who locked him up. This title, the seventh in the series, is one of Christopher's weaker efforts. Though baseball is a team sport, which should be emphasized in sports books for young readers, the whole focus here is on Nicky's quest for an individual record.

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Uncharacteristically, there are a couple of errors in game description. Black-and-white drawings appear throughout this beginning chapter book. For purchase only by those libraries that can't pass up a title by the prolific Christopher. Review of Baseball Turnaround , by Matt Christopher. This is just the ticket for Sandy, who loves baseball and believes himself to be an excellent center fielder. However, he is humiliated when news of his crime reaches his teammates. Fortunately, his family is moving to a new town and he has a chance to start again. Unfortunately, Sandy is so preoccupied with the fear that his new teammates will discover his secret that he fails to make friends.

It's only after he learns to relax and be honest that he's accepted by his team, and his skills on the field can be appreciated. Despite the obvious message, this novel is not so heavy-handed that it gets in the way of the story. The action moves along at a good clip with plenty of stuff about baseball to balance out the accounts of Sandy's inner turmoil.

Booklist 94, no. But, of course, the worse they are the more they tickle our funny bones. Christopher has assembled a motley assortment of teasers guaranteed to elicit as many groans as giggles [in Football Jokes and Riddles ]. Linebacker: Is it better to play football on a full or empty stomach? Coach: It's better to play on a field!

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Packed between the grunts and groans are some pretty interesting football facts that may be new to even the most savvy fan of the sport. Did you know that in the s John Heisman instructed one of his players to hide the football under his jersey? That sneaky play went 50 yards for a touchdown. In addition to describing the athlete's triumphs, Christopher discusses his losses as well as his behavior problems exhibited on the court at the beginning of his career. A grouping of glossy black-and-white photographs as well as a page of career highlights appear at the center of the book.

A serviceable biography for tennis fans. Review of Penalty Shot , by Matt Christopher. He is shocked when Kevin, his best friend, receives a cruel note in Jeff's handwriting. To make matters worse, Jeff gets another low grade on his English paper even after correcting his mistakes with his tutor. He soon discovers that a teammate has been forging his handwriting.

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Christopher uses straightforward sentence structure and a simple vocabulary. Characters show positive yet realistic values—Jeff in dreading the tutor but knowing he needs help and the culprit in admitting his guilt. The mystery progresses quickly, provides clues that lead to more than one suspect, and reaches a satisfying conclusion. Some readers may not guess the ending, but they will feel successful in organizing the clues in their minds. Libraries needing more hockey stories will want to include this one in their collection. Review of Snowboard Maverick , by Matt Christopher. School Library Journal 44, no.

However, even though he lives in a winter sports resort area, he's reluctant to try snowboarding because of a skiing accident that occurred when he was much younger [in Snowboard Maverick ]. Eventually, the boy overcomes his fears and his parents surprise him with a snowboard for Christmas. After a few days, he has managed to make his way down the slopes without too much difficulty. He's drawn into the more daring aspects of the sport, as he will do anything to avoid being called a "chicken. He wins, but is properly contrite, knowing where his actions might have led. Having found an older mentor, Dennis eventually becomes an "awesome" snowboarder.

Following his tried-and-true formula, Christopher offers nothing new here in terms of plot—the story simply involves a different type of apparatus stuck to the feet. However, he includes some of the terminology of snowboarding he avoids mentioning how Dennis deals with the financially crippling lift fees ; and the plot, though simple, slides along with enough super moguls along the way to please snowboarders and perhaps some others as well.

But his two best friends succeed in getting him to try the snowboard, and Dennis really takes to it. Many of his skateboarding skills carry over, and he quickly progresses beyond the beginner stage. He eventually accepts challenges from two snowboarders: one a hated bully, the other an older, admired athlete. The race with the bully is foolish and risky, and the contest with his idol shows a favorable contrast.

These two events unfold with suspense, and readers will identify with the various tormented feelings Dennis experiences. This is a book about snowboarding, but it is just as much about friendship, loyalties, and a young teen's relationship with his parents.

Like Christopher's other books, it is fast paced without shortchanging the emotional depth of the main character. He is even more suspicious when the coach asks him to help Roberti Frantelli learn the ropes. Because Alfie is not a star player, he is worried that the coach will replace him with Roberti, whom he has taught everything he knows.

Again, Christopher has made his major character a boy with whom young readers can empathize. Woven within the plot are subtle pointers on how to play the game. Pen-and-ink sketches illustrate the action. It's unfortunate that the publisher has again printed the annoying ad on the back cover enticing readers to join the Matt Christopher Fan Club by sending a dollar with no mention of what they'll get in return. That aside, readers will enjoy this story—and it's most unlikely that they'll guess the ending that explains why Roberti is on the team.

The many characters most with rather old-fashioned nicknames may also lead to some confusion. Young Rudy blames all of his baseball woes on the team-owned catcher's mask so he buys a "new" mask and baseball book at a neighbor's yard sale. Information in the book and the "Y. Although this fills the bill as an easy-reading sports-action book, the plot is only fair and the ending a little too pat. School Donation Program In Memory of How To Swap Books? Matthew Christopher August 16, - September 20, was an author of children's books, born in Bath, Pennsylvania, the oldest of nine children.

He was a prolific author, writing more than one hundred books, mostly children's novels centered around sports. Christopher was an athlete as a child and turned to writing as a career when his first short story "The Missing Finger Points," was published in a detective story magazine. His first full-length novel was The Lucky Baseball Bat , published in When Christopher was in his thirties and forties, he played minor league baseball in a Canadian league.

He lived in Rock Hill, South Carolina at that time. Though Christopher wrote about many sports, his most frequent subject was baseball. He has written books centred on snowboarding, dirt bike racing, volleyball, golf and many other sports, in addition to a number of biographies of sportsmen and women. In , he won the Milner Award, an award given to an author whose books are most enjoyed by children in Atlanta, Georgia. Chronological List. Alphabetical List.