Barbed Wire Baseball

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, all eyes will be on the skies. But for now, Newsbee hopes you’ll focus your peepers on the mighty fine reviews featured here. The May Picks theme was about having courage — just like our revolutionary forefathers.

The first reviews listed were published in The Missourian and earned a new Book Buzz Pick for the writers courtesy of the Washington Optimist Club.

But Newsbee wanted to share a few more great reviews by other young readers -- so those are published here as well.

Until next month, “Page On!”

“The Dark,”

By Lemony Snicket.

Reviewed by Katherine Bolte, first grade, Beaufort Elementary School.

“There was a boy, and he was afraid of the dark. The dark lived in the same house as Laszlo (the boy). The dark lived everywhere in Laszlo’s house. Laszlo always said ‘Hi” to the dark. The dark gave Laszlo a light bulb at the end of the book so he would learn not to be afraid of the dark.

“I liked this book because the dark was teaching him something. I’d recommend this book to my mommy because I love her.”

“Barbed Wire Baseball,”

By Marissa Moss.

Reviewed by Rachel Bolte, fourth grade, Beaufort Elementary School.

“Zeni was small but he was a good baseball player. He got to play with Babe Ruth! But Zeni was of Japanese descent and when Pearl Harbor got bombed by Japan, Zeni, his wife and two sons were sent to an internment camp with many others. Then Zeni had an idea; he could make a baseball field!

“His decision, and the description of how they did the work, were my favorite parts of the book. Later on in the story, he started to clear rocks and other men joined in. Zeni got a bulldozer to level the field, collected money for equipment, moved an irrigation line to the field to keep dust down, chalked foul lines, made bleachers, and planted grass.

“I like this book because it shows how not all people of Japanese descent were guilty but they still had to go to the camp! The book taught me how hard it would be for people who were innocent to be sent somewhere separated from friends and your home.

“I also liked the illustrations because they show much expression. I would recommend this book to my GG (great-grandma) because she likes baseball.”

“Hero on a Bicycle,”

By Shirley Hughes.

Reviewed by Cole S., Meramec Valley Middle School.

“This is a book about 13-year-old Paolo. While he is living in Italy, the Nazis take over and are patrolling heavily during World War II. His mother had to take in the prisoners of war, and they struggled to hide them.

“I liked when Paolo is put in the difficult situation of hiding escaped prisoners of war with his mother. I like this because the book became very suspenseful. One of the characters I really enjoyed died near the end. I disliked this because a part of the plot just died unexpectedly.

“I liked Paolo because he longs for action, but once it arrived he became nervous. He can barely take the pressure of being a hero. I related to Paolo because I also long for action, but once things get tough, I’d want to go home.

“I would recommend this book to my dad because he likes good, suspenseful reads. He would enjoy this book because it has historical facts and a good story line. My dad is a teacher who likes good books, and he is always looking for recommendations.


“Barbed Wire Baseball,” by Marissa Moss.

Reviewed by Evan Hall, Fourth Grade, Clark-Vitt Elementary School:

“This book is about a boy named Zeni who loves baseball, but with the bombing of Pearl Harbor happened he had to go to a prison camp because he was Japanese.

“He made his own baseball field in the c amp. He missed baseball, but he played again.

“My favorite part is when he plays baseball in the camp because he hit a home run.

“Others should read this book because it’s fun to read this book.”

Reviewed by Maddie Ennis, Third Grade, Immaculate Conception School:

“I could compare Zeni to me because when I play softball it does not matter where I play it. I will always like baseball.

“The best part was that the book had some history in it that told about where Zeni was from.

“I would recommend this book to someone who likes baseball and lies it wherever they are or they like history.

“One of the parts in the story was that the people who were American Japanese people all got locked up in the desert with houses and then they made a baseball field and tons of people came to the first game.”

Reviewed by Andrew Haberberger:

“I would recommend this story to Jesus because he never gave up.

“’Barb Wire’ is impressive because it’s about baseball and I really like baseball even though baseball is difficult it’s really fun.

“If baseball wasn’t invented everything would be boring. It’s a book thing baseball was invented.”

Reviewed by Tanner Mattingly, age 9, Immaculate Conception School:

“I liked this book a lot because it was a true story and it’s about baseball. My favorite part about the story was when Zeni became a baseball player. My other favorite part was the middle because that’s where all the action happened.

“This book was entertaining. I recommend this book to my brother, my dad, my grandma, and my teacher, and me because we all love baseball and softball, and I thought the book was really, really, really good.

Reviewed by Alysha Brautigam, Immaculate Conception School:

“I saw my first ball game at eight too. I read a book about Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked Americans. I wonder if it was hot in the camp in the desert? I wonder how long it took to make the baseball field?

“When I saw the cover of the book I was really excited to hear the book. It is really an interesting book. I think my whole class liked it.”