Nine-year-old Teddy Caldwell had no idea the summer was going to be so pivotal for so many folks, or that his very bad day was going to be the beginning of a grand adventure. When a solid line drive connects with his neighbor’s window, Teddy is sure he’ll end up in jail and his parents will never let him stay home alone again! What starts as a disaster becomes a turning point in Teddy’s life. He and his strange neighbor, Uncle Drew Weems, begin a correspondence that takes some surprising turns. Over the course of the summer, Teddy learns about Uncle Drew’s life; with stories of barnstorming baseball players and Jim Crow racism, Uncle Drew spins a tale of Depression-era America that fascinates and disturbs young Teddy.
Wrapped inside the notes, mementos, and ephemera passed between the neighbors is the tale of Uncle Drew’s odyssey with New Orleans Po’ Boy Baseball Club player Bopeep Shines. Bopeep was a promising Negro League pitcher who stepped out of organized ball and into mystery—a mystery that Uncle Drew fills in. With ledgers of their bets he relays the story of their games as Bopeep pitched out white batters across the South. Details of their journey emerge slowly, experiences so foreign to Teddy that he has trouble understanding them.
Through the use of typical conflicts and language of the time, author Thomas Cochran paints a vivid and fact-filled tale that follows both Teddy’s personal growth and the bitter disillusionment of a talented black man during the worst of times. With an uplifting twist at the end, Cochran’s tale is sure to appeal to many audiences and provide a welcome tool for classroom reading and discussion.
About the Author
From working as a sportswriter to teaching English and creative writing, Thomas Cochran has always found ways to turn his passions for sports and the written word into lucrative careers. He has contributed essays to such notable publications as the Oxford American, Modern Drummer, and Gray’s Sporting Journal, while his poetry has appeared in Rattle and Mudlark and Louisiana Literature. Cochran has authored two previous sports novels, including National Book Award for Young People’s Literature nominee Roughnecks. Raised in Haynesville, Louisiana, Cochran lives with his wife in rural northwest Arkansas.
UNCLE DREW AND THE BAT DODGER
By Thomas Cochran
JUVENILE FICTION / Sports & Recreation / Baseball
JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States / 20th Century
248 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Ages 8-12 Grades 3-7