At a Glance:
This is a wonderful story about two friends who take a less-than-happy situation and turn it into a fantastic one. We highly, highly, highly recommend this book.
Sam and Jackson are great friends and they love baseball more than anything else.
When they are old enough they try out for their local baseball team.
Sam is fantastic and makes the team. Jackson doesn’t make the team. He’s just not a very good (actually, he’s the worst), but he is able to throw a ball very well.
This is hard for both of them. Jackson feels sorry for himself while Sam is off at practice, and Sam doesn’t enjoy baseball as much without Jackson.
Then one day Sam sees an ad on a poster for a peanut vendor. The main requirement is that the peanut vendor MUST THROW WELL. Sam tells Jackson about the job and that he can get into all of the games for free. Still feeling sorry for himself, Jackson declines.
Then the problems really begin. Without Jackson, Sam just isn’t as good anymore. He begins to strike out and his team starts losing. People begin to blame Sam. Jackson overhears some of the comments that people are making about Sam’s poor playing. This inspires Jackson to take the job as the peanut vendor. Just when Sam is about to strike out again, he hears his friend Jackson call to him from the stands. As soon as he sees Jackson, he’s back to being himself and hits a perfect home run.
It turns out that Jackson has an amazing knack for throwing peanuts. He’s able to set new records and then break them. People are just as interested in seeing Jackson throw as they are in the game. Jackson is even able to help out Sam during a particularly close game. In their own way, each becomes a legend. Sam on the field, and Jackson in the stands.
Our Experience Reading this Book:
After reading this book to my son, my husband declared that it was a, “perfect book.” (My husband very rarely uses such strong words for anything.) I could not agree more. Beautifully illustrated, great characters, interesting problems and situations, and a wonderful ending. It leaves us feeling inspired and happy each time we read it.
We read a lot of picture books — if I had to guess, we’re reading about 200 different picture books a month. The more picture books we read and the older my son gets, the less my son wants to read the same book over and over again. He’s ready to move on to the next book. This is the first book in a while that my son has asked me to read to him over and over again. When I attempted to return it to the library he protested, “NOT Roasted Peanuts! It’s my favorite!” My son doesn’t usually get upset when we have to return books to the library. I always assure him that we can just check it out again. This book was different, he declared that he NEEDED this book. Far be it for me to separate a boy from his book, especially a book that promotes wonderful values, resourcefulness, and making the best of your talents and situation in life.
This is one of those books that we’ll pack for trips and that we’ll have readily available for when friends and family comes over. Everyone can (and hopefully will, have a chance to) enjoy this book.
- Tim Egan: http://www.timegan.com/
- An article about Rob Barry, a real peanut vendor at Fenway Park, who can seriously throw: http://www.bostonspastime.com/peanutvendor.html
- Roger Owens pitched more than 2 million bags of goobers during games: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/books/the_perfect_pitch.shtml
- A great article about dumb rules (in relation to Rob Barry violating rules by throwing bags of peanuts):http://www.hks.harvard.edu/thebehnreport/April2004.pdf
Some of My Favorite Reviews of this Book:
- Fantastic Interview at Seven Impossible Things (one of my absolute favorite blogs): http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=2184