Hothead (review)
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Reviewed by
Ripken, Cal, Jr. Hothead; written by Cal Ripken, Jr., with Kevin Cowherd. Disney Hyperion, 2011. 135p. ISBN 978-1-4231-4000-9 $16.99 R Gr. 4-6.

Connor Sullivan, seventh-grade shortstop for his baseball team in Maryland, has a [End Page 536] lot on his plate. Dad is out of work, Mom is stressed with extra hours, and whispered conversations between his parents hint that losing their home could be a possibility. Certainly Connor's opportunity to attend a prestigious, invitation-only baseball camp has pretty well evaporated. Connor keeps his family problems secret from his friends and coach, but they all sense something is very wrong when the most mundane problems on the field send Connor into fits of anger and, ultimately, result in his ejection from a game and brief suspension from league play. With a lot of support from parents, coach, and teammates, Connor is doing his best to keep his tantrums at bay, but a school-newspaper reporter, Melissa, has some video footage of his rage, and the fear that she'll release an embarrassing story just frustrates his efforts to keep a level head. This trim offering will be just the ticket for readers who've worked their way through Dan Gutman and Matt Christopher but are still a little shy of Matt de la Peña and Carl Deuker. The carefully restrained trash talk and feel-good ending will also recommend this title to younger baseball enthusiasts who are reading above grade level.

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