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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the fourth in the "Scraps of Time" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

James (Jimbo) and Peter (Tank) Turner are young brothers in 1937 when the National Negro Baseball League is just gaining popularity. They sneak into all the games and watch their heroes play until the ballpark manager, Mr. Munday, catches them. The manager makes them clean up after a game with his mentally-challenged nephew, Apollo. Mr. Munday brings rising baseball star Josh Gibson to Jimbo and Tank's home, where the player rents their spare room. The excited youngsters convince Josh to let them be water boys for his team, the Homestead Grays, whenever the players come to town. The boys gain Mr. Munday's respect by looking out for Apollo, and they persuade Mr. Munday to coach a team of boys when the adult players aren't in town. Jimbo and Tank learn valuable lessons about teamwork and making good choices in life. Josh presents them with a baseball signed by some of the great early Negro League players.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

Josh is superstitious. He has to have the same chewing tobacco before each game and practices other pre-game rituals such as swinging the bat a certain way.

Authority Roles

Josh Gibson pays attention to the boys, gives them advice, tells them stories and allows them to help the team. His chewing tobacco habit inspires Tank to buy some for himself to be like his hero. The boys' parents open their home to Josh. They're friendly and present, and Mama is always baking for the neighborhood. Mr. Munday is tough and won't let Jimbo and Tank get by with bad behavior. He's kinder to them after they stick up for his nephew and demonstrate their willingness to work, both on and off the ball field.

Tank and Jimbo sneak into ballgames without paying. When their father finds out, he expresses disappointment at their "cheating and stealing." They object, saying they weren't stealing, but Daddy says it's the same as if they'd taken money out of the ballpark owner's pocket.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

History: The book includes brief historical information about the Negro National League.

Alcohol and Tobacco: Josh Gibson promises to abide by the Turners' house rules of no whiskey and no smoking. Daddy grins and says those are the wife's rules so he has to abide by them, too. Josh chews the same brand of tobacco every time he plays in a game. He says he can't hit without it because it settles his stomach and calms his nerves. When he runs out of chew before a big game, Tank dashes to a store 10 blocks away to get him some. Soon after, Tank buys some for himself and gets dizzy and sick. He vomits several times and feels queasy for the next few days. Mr. Munday notes that sometimes "error punishes itself."

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 and up


Patricia C. McKissack






Record Label



Viking, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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