I have one thing in common with Jenny from the Block, growing up in NY I rode the 6 train actually I still do when I go home to visit. The 2 and 5 make too many Bronx local stops. If I wanted to read the sports section I'd pick up the Daily News before I got on the train. The Daily News has a great sport section and that was when I first introduced to Mike Lupica. I read and loved his first children's book Travel Team a few years back. His second book Heat, was just okay for me. So its taken me awhile to read another Lupica book. Safe at Home was worth the trip back.
Nick Crandall is 12yrs old and attends Hayworth middle school. He was adopted when he was nine. He is the catcher on the JV team. In preseason the varsity catcher is injured. Nick is called up and now he is the youngest player on the varsity baseball team. His first few weeks on the varsity team are challenging. In Nick Crandall, Lupica has created a character many boys can relate to. He does so-so in school, loves comic books, worries his parents don't understand him and is trying to fit in. Safe at Home is a very enjoyable read, Lupica does a very fine job with it but sometimes he does tow the line of too much lesson and not enough story. As always Mike Lupica writes so you can see the field and the game. I loved the development of Nick Crandall
"Nick especially liked the mask and just that it made him feel a little bit like a superhero from one of his comic books. The mask made him feel as if he could hide in plain sight looking at everybody's else face on the field without them seeing his."
I was helping a customer a couple of weeks back, he was about 10 yrs old and knew who Lupica was. Safe at Home would make a great gateway book for young sports fans. They may see Lupica not has a writer but as a sports reporter/sports fan/the guy they saw on ESPN. With all those slashes a young sports fans/reluctant reader might be inclined to read one of Lupica's books