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Lucky: Maris, Mantle, and My Best Summer Ever    by Wes Tooke order for
by Wes Tooke
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2011 (2010)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Any youngster who loves baseball and is ready for chapter books will enjoy this novel. A Junior Library Guild Selection, Lucky is the tale of a boy who serves as one of the batboys for the New York Yankees during the summer that Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris pursue Babe Ruth's home run record.

Louis May's parents are divorced and his father has remarried. Not only does Louis have a new mother to adjust to but also a stepbrother who is a much better athlete than he is. The two boys basically co-exist and Louis isn't really thrilled with his new circumstances. The boy's love of baseball and the Yankees is the only thing that keeps his life bearable during this difficult period of adjustment.

When the opportunity to become a batboy for his favorite team materializes, Louis jumps at the chance and soon he not only befriends his two baseball heroes but the youth also has a ringside seat for one of the most remarkable seasons in Yankee history.

What begins as the worst summer imaginable for Louis turns into one that not only cements his love of baseball but also allows him to create a solid, positive bond with his stepbrother. Along the way he learns a lot about life and people as well.

When Louis sells his beloved baseball collection to do something to help his new friend Roger Maris get closer to breaking the single season home run record, the boy realizes how he has matured.

'At that moment Louis finally realized how much being a batboy had changed him. He had once seen baseball as a game purely of numbers, but over the last few months Louis had come to realize that how people got those numbers was ultimately more interesting. It was like the difference between someone who collected stamps from foreign countries and someone who actually traveled the world.'

A highly entertaining mixture of baseball lore and likeable characters, this novel will hold the attention of even the most reluctant reader once he or she gets into the story of this very special young boy. Louis 'Lucky' May learns a lot about people, life and baseball during this one very memorable summer.

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