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Wild Pitch

Last updated Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Author: Cal Ripken Jr.
Illustrator: Kevin Cowherd
Date of Publication: 2013
ISBN: 1423140028
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2013

Synopsis: Robbie Hammond is the hardest throwing pitcher in the Babe Ruth League. But what good is all that heat when he can’t seem to find the plate? With Robbie struggling, the Orioles are suffering through a nightmare season, still looking for their first win. Robbie's teammates are whispering that the only reason he’s even pitching is because he’s the coach’s kid. They’ve even given him a new nickname: Ball Four.

Note to readers:
•  If you think you’ll have time you can read chapters 1-3, otherwise you can just read chapters 1 and 3, but skip 2.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever played or watched a baseball game?
•  How do you think playing on a sports team would feel? Exciting? Stressful?

•  intimidating- to make timid or fearful, to frighten.
•  scowl- to look at someone in an angry or disapproving way.
•  prestigious- honorable, highly esteemed.
•  nauseated- to feel disgusted or sick.
•  divert – to take attention away from something or someone.
•  adrenaline- a substance that is released in the body of a person who is feeling a strong emotion (such as excitement, fear, or anger) and that causes the heart to beat faster and gives the person more energy
•  mocking- to laugh or make fun of. Copying an action, behavior, or way of speaking.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How do you think Bobby feels about his Mom and Dad?
•  What do you think happened with Stevie Altman?
•  Do you think Bobby likes playing baseball?
•  Why do you think Bobby feels bad about the accident?
•  Do you think Bobby should keep playing baseball?
•  What could help Bobby overcome his fear?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a baseball pennant. Cut felt or foam into long triangular shape, then attach to top half of a craft stick or dowel.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!