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Alex Metcalf must be dreaming. What else would explain why he's playing baseball for the Oz Cyclones, with Dorothy as his captain, in the Ever After Baseball Tournament? But Alex isn't dreaming, he's just from the real world. And winning the tournament might be his only chance to get back there, because the champions get a wish granted by the Wizard. Too bad Ever After's m Alex Metcalf must be dreaming. What else would explain why he's playing baseball for the Oz Cyclones, with Dorothy as his captain, in the Ever After Baseball Tournament? But Alex isn't dreaming, he's just from the real world. And winning the tournament might be his only chance to get back there, because the champions get a wish granted by the Wizard. Too bad Ever After's most notorious criminal, the Big Bad Wolf, is also after the wishes. Anyone who gets in his way gets eaten. Watch out, Alex! In a land where classic literary characters are baseball crazy and people from the real world don't technically exist, Alex must face his fears, play the best baseball of his life, and come to discover the surprising truth about himself.


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Alex Metcalf must be dreaming. What else would explain why he's playing baseball for the Oz Cyclones, with Dorothy as his captain, in the Ever After Baseball Tournament? But Alex isn't dreaming, he's just from the real world. And winning the tournament might be his only chance to get back there, because the champions get a wish granted by the Wizard. Too bad Ever After's m Alex Metcalf must be dreaming. What else would explain why he's playing baseball for the Oz Cyclones, with Dorothy as his captain, in the Ever After Baseball Tournament? But Alex isn't dreaming, he's just from the real world. And winning the tournament might be his only chance to get back there, because the champions get a wish granted by the Wizard. Too bad Ever After's most notorious criminal, the Big Bad Wolf, is also after the wishes. Anyone who gets in his way gets eaten. Watch out, Alex! In a land where classic literary characters are baseball crazy and people from the real world don't technically exist, Alex must face his fears, play the best baseball of his life, and come to discover the surprising truth about himself.

30 review for Fantasy Baseball

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

    This is a tricky book to review. It operates on several levels, and I'm betting people come away from it with different ideas of "what it's about." I bet I could get a good fight going about it at Kidlit Drink Night. On the surface, it's a romp in the classic world of make believe, magic, and storytelling. With an American vibe and a baseball/boy center. Then, too, it addresses darker issues of illness/death, in a way a kid can handle. NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO DO without making a book an "issue" book. This is a tricky book to review. It operates on several levels, and I'm betting people come away from it with different ideas of "what it's about." I bet I could get a good fight going about it at Kidlit Drink Night. On the surface, it's a romp in the classic world of make believe, magic, and storytelling. With an American vibe and a baseball/boy center. Then, too, it addresses darker issues of illness/death, in a way a kid can handle. NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO DO without making a book an "issue" book. Also, there's a handful of moments that approach political commentary. But also, there's a level I can't help being interested in, that turns this into a meta-read, all about the state of books and stories today, and what memory is, and how to negotiate nostalgia and the past in a faster and faster present. Especially for a writer. I'm not sure this book is for everyone, and honestly-- I feel like maybe the choice of the cover was intended to undercut that fact. They made a bright sparkly (albeit gorgeous) cover that would (I'm just guessing) catch readers. I hate when publishers do that. There's none of the book's fear/confusion in this cover. That bugs me. But it isn't the author's fault. Full disclosure: I know the author and read parts of the book in an early draft, but I stand by my review nonetheless.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jwchef196

    This book was so good I want Gratz to make a sequel

  3. 4 out of 5

    Doret

    Alex Metcalf wakes up one day in Ever After where all storybook and fairytale characters live. This alternate world is just beginning a baseball tournament. Alex finds himself on the Oz Cyclones team bus. Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz is the pitcher and captain. Toad from Wind in the Williows is the shortstop. Br'er Rabbit plays third. The rest of the team is made up of less famous Oz characters. Each member on the winning team gets one wish granted by the Wizard. Dorothy is determined to win a s Alex Metcalf wakes up one day in Ever After where all storybook and fairytale characters live. This alternate world is just beginning a baseball tournament. Alex finds himself on the Oz Cyclones team bus. Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz is the pitcher and captain. Toad from Wind in the Williows is the shortstop. Br'er Rabbit plays third. The rest of the team is made up of less famous Oz characters. Each member on the winning team gets one wish granted by the Wizard. Dorothy is determined to win a showing with the Wizard. Alex was born to play baseball and will be the Cyclones new first baseman. They go on to play such teams as the Little Women, (Jo, protects her pitcher behind the plate) a Manga team, and Mother Goose. I knew I was going to enjoy the baseball aspect of this story. It was the fantasy and the classical characters I was concerned about. I was only familiar with a few of the characters. (I've never read many of the these classics, like Wind in the Willows) I worried for nothing. Fantasy Baseball was easy to fall into. My lack of classical book knowledge didn't lessen my enjoyment. Toad, the player and the politician was one of my favorite characters. Gratz also includes a few contemporary characters. Lester from Ingrid's Savvy drives the Cyclone team bus and a pig that sounds very much like Olivia is the pitcher for the pigs team. In the first game thanks to Alex everyone laughs at the Big Bad Wolf. The Wolf is not happy, throughout the story he pops in and out in various disguises trying to catch and eat Alex. I really enjoyed this Wolf as the bad guy. It gave the story just the right amount of danger. I absolutely loved Alex's security detail, Nanny Mae and her cat Mrs. P. All Nannies are a part of the Wizard's secret service. There was a great action filled Nanny face off. Very intense and exciting. All the characters worry their stories will go unread and they will being forgotten. When that happens they vanish from Ever After. This aspect of the story could've easily become too much lesson about remembering classics but the author doesn't let it. Gratz also does a very good job of balancing baseball and fantasy. There isn't too much baseball for non baseball fans but enough for baseball fans to enjoy. There isn't too much fantasy for non fantasy fans, fantasy fans will appreciate the author's world building. I am glad I finally picked this one up, its great story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diane Golden

    It is good!It has the big bad wolf,Dorothy,peter rabbit,Alex,toad.Those are the characters.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    I discovered this book a few year's ago when the author, Alan Gratz, was at Cincinnati's "Books by the Banks" events. This was my first opportunity to sit down and read it, but I clearly recall the excitement in the author's voice as he described to me what it was all about. It is definitely a creative story, and I can see enthusiastic readers and baseball fans alike enjoying all of the imaginative elements of it. Alex Metcalf wakes up one day in a world that is very unfamiliar to him. He is on a I discovered this book a few year's ago when the author, Alan Gratz, was at Cincinnati's "Books by the Banks" events. This was my first opportunity to sit down and read it, but I clearly recall the excitement in the author's voice as he described to me what it was all about. It is definitely a creative story, and I can see enthusiastic readers and baseball fans alike enjoying all of the imaginative elements of it. Alex Metcalf wakes up one day in a world that is very unfamiliar to him. He is on a bus surrounded by strange and interesting characters, which include Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Br'er Rabbit, and Toad from The Wind in the Willows, among others. He is convinced that it is all a dream, though the characters insist it is not. Alex learns that he has ended up in Ever After, which is a land comprised of all of the storybook characters. He is considered a Lark, which means he exists because someone in the "real world" believes in him. Alex also learns that he is a member of the Cyclones baseball team, which is currently participating in a major baseball tournament. Alex is a huge fan of baseball, and is excited about getting to play in a tournament, so he decides to go along with this dream even though it is extremely odd. As the story unfolds, we learn that the Cyclones are a team made up of dying storybook characters. They desperately want to win the tournament, because the reward is getting to have a wish granted by the great and powerful Wizard of Oz. Dorothy wants to wish for the continuation and survival of the characters on the team. This includes Alex, who we learn is also dying because the person who believes in him (himself) is actually dying of cancer in the real world. There are lots of exciting baseball games in the tournament throughout the story, including a showdown against The Royals, which is a team made up of spoiled storybook princesses. The Big Bad Wolf also brings a lot of excitement to the story, because he wants Alex removed permanently from Ever After. To find out what happens, and whether or not The Cyclones win the tournament, you will have to read this imaginative book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    My parents wanted me to read this for my little brother, and see if it was appropriate for him. I am warning you know! No child under the age of 13 should read this book. There are hard topics and even harder symbolism. Alex, is a young Lark who was created from the real Alex's imagination. But, the real Alex is slowing dying and along with him the Lark, Alex is dying as well. Now, all Lark Alex has to do is win the Ever After Baseball Tournament and get his wish from the Wizard, but can he do i My parents wanted me to read this for my little brother, and see if it was appropriate for him. I am warning you know! No child under the age of 13 should read this book. There are hard topics and even harder symbolism. Alex, is a young Lark who was created from the real Alex's imagination. But, the real Alex is slowing dying and along with him the Lark, Alex is dying as well. Now, all Lark Alex has to do is win the Ever After Baseball Tournament and get his wish from the Wizard, but can he do it before Real Alex dies? I strongly recommend this book to ages 14-25. The real Alex has cancer by the way.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    This wasn't one of my favorite Alan Gratz books, but will certainly appeal to some of my middle school readers...especially ones who like the intersection of literature and baseball (though the sheer number of literary characters in the book was a bit more than I needed). The underlying "story within this story" is very sad and once I figured out what was actually going on, it did make me want to finish reading so I could see how things ended for Alex.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    A cute book with adventure, baseball and host of literary characters (some thinly disguised for copyright purposes).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    Man, I wanted to love this. Alex wakes up in Ever After and starts playing baseball with the Cyclones - Dorothy, Tik-Tok, Toad, Jack Pumpkinhead...sounding familiar? All the players in the league, and the land, are book characters. I mean, come on, there's Cordelia, with her red braids, talking the whole time she's at bat - to the pitcher, to the catcher, to the umpire, to the first baseman, to herself. (Know her? Hint: She decided to be called Cordelia when Alex said all the players needed nick Man, I wanted to love this. Alex wakes up in Ever After and starts playing baseball with the Cyclones - Dorothy, Tik-Tok, Toad, Jack Pumpkinhead...sounding familiar? All the players in the league, and the land, are book characters. I mean, come on, there's Cordelia, with her red braids, talking the whole time she's at bat - to the pitcher, to the catcher, to the umpire, to the first baseman, to herself. (Know her? Hint: She decided to be called Cordelia when Alex said all the players needed nicknames.) Sounds promising, right? Except Alex isn't a book character, he's a Lark - he's the figment of someone's imagination. Someone who believes that he's the best in the world, because that's all that someone has. Not a bad layer, as layers go. But then there's the Big Bad Wolf after Alex, and he wants to eat Alex. When that happens, you don't die, there's just nothing. It's Torchwood's void. You are there, and there is nothing. That's a hard sell in a kid's book. And then there is death, and that is cold and nothing as well. And then there's another kind of death. And then there's all these allusions and references to our world's current events. "This is a war, child! A war on terror. We cannot afford rules." That would be the government agent known as a nanny saying those lines. Also, I don't know that the intended audience will know many of the characters, as some are quite obscure. I'm still trying to figure out who Nanny Mae and her cat, Mrs P, are - 1940s London, can anyone help? I did get the other nannies, Golly and Maria. And it was fun picking out the characters I knew. I think this was a brilliant idea, with very very flawed execution. There's just too much going on, which obscures the story. Maybe it would have been better as an adult novel. I don't think there will be many kids who will give this a chance, and I wouldn't blame them at all.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Scherping Moulton

    When Alex realizes that he's on a bus next to a giant frog and a life-size rag doll, he's pretty sure he's dreaming. When he finds out that he's on the Oz Cyclones baseball team on their way to the Ever After tournament with Dorothy and company, he decides that this is an AWESOME dream. The Cyclones are underdogs, but they're determined to win the big prize - a wish granted by the Wizard of Oz himself. But even as he's enjoying inspiring his team, playing amazingly well, and advancing in the tou When Alex realizes that he's on a bus next to a giant frog and a life-size rag doll, he's pretty sure he's dreaming. When he finds out that he's on the Oz Cyclones baseball team on their way to the Ever After tournament with Dorothy and company, he decides that this is an AWESOME dream. The Cyclones are underdogs, but they're determined to win the big prize - a wish granted by the Wizard of Oz himself. But even as he's enjoying inspiring his team, playing amazingly well, and advancing in the tournament against other storybook characters, Alex starts to wonder why he still hasn't woken up yet. And why does he keep having strange dreams of a sick boy in a hospital bed? Meanwhile the Big Bad Wolf has a bone to pick with Alex, and some of his teammates are disappearing. Can they win against all odds and achieve their deepest desires? Or will Alex's whole world come crashing down? This was not what I expected, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. The premise of a boy being in Ever After and playing baseball with famous characters from children's books makes it sound like this is a sweet and happy story, but there's actually a lot of depth here. Alex's true nature and backstory are actually pretty sad, and a lot of tension of the story revolves around characters dying/disappearing/ceasing to exist. There are also some explorations of depression and terrorism that manage to coexist with the rest of the themes. The one problem I have with the book is that I don't know what its audience is! But I enjoyed reading it, and I'm impressed by the way it's written. I would recommend this book to grades 5-8, especially fans of baseball and/or fairy tales. I would compare this book somewhat to The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster or possibly The Sisters Grimm series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    hpboy13

    This book is absolutely charming - a delightful fast read that had me smiling ear to ear when I finished it. The premise is a fairly simple one - characters from classic stories are competing in a baseball tournament in Ever After. And the book is somewhat predictable, especially in the latter half. However, it's all so cleverly written that I was totally engrossed. And best of all, an avid reader like myself will have a great time revisiting old friends like Tom Sawyer and Charles Wallace. Best This book is absolutely charming - a delightful fast read that had me smiling ear to ear when I finished it. The premise is a fairly simple one - characters from classic stories are competing in a baseball tournament in Ever After. And the book is somewhat predictable, especially in the latter half. However, it's all so cleverly written that I was totally engrossed. And best of all, an avid reader like myself will have a great time revisiting old friends like Tom Sawyer and Charles Wallace. Best of all, the supporting characters from the Oz sequels - which it seems like I'm the only person to have ever read - are main characters in this book. It has a lot of heart, and I recommend it to anyone who has read Inkheart, or the Oz books, or watches Once Upon a Time, or is just into fantasy. And you don't need to know a lot about baseball beyond the basics to enjoy it. My only complaint is (view spoiler)[ that Dorothy didn't wish for Button Bright's return - it seemed like she was already happy, so why wish for it? (hide spoiler)]

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    My 9-year-old baseball player son chose this book, and we both thought the cover and the premise looked fantastic. He left B&N with it and read all the way home, and kept reading all evening until he was done. And then, he started crying. My assignment for the day from my son is to also read it, so we can talk about it when he gets home. You see, no where on the cover, or the back cover copy, do you get the underlying story about a boy who is dying of cancer, who is dreaming all these great, incr My 9-year-old baseball player son chose this book, and we both thought the cover and the premise looked fantastic. He left B&N with it and read all the way home, and kept reading all evening until he was done. And then, he started crying. My assignment for the day from my son is to also read it, so we can talk about it when he gets home. You see, no where on the cover, or the back cover copy, do you get the underlying story about a boy who is dying of cancer, who is dreaming all these great, incredulous things that are happening. All of that to say: I think this book is amazing. I would read it with my book club. There are so many fantastic things to talk about within the story. But if I had any clue what it was about, I probably wouldn't have given it to my son to read. He tends to get all wound up in the stories within books anyway, and I would have known that he just wasn't ready for it yet. Great concept, wonderful book--probably would have been better as a YA (middle schoolers) or even adult book if taken just a step further.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mason Fabricant

    I thought the book was creative because a boy named Alex woke up and he was playing baseball with the characters from the Wizard of Oz and the Three Little Pigs. He was on his favorite baseball field, Ebbets Field. When his name was announced from the loudspeaker, he was smiling and laughing. Alex's team was Dorothy, Tin Man, Toto, Frog and Br'er Rabbit. Alex played first base. In the first inning, Alex was batting he hit a homerun over the fence. The big bad wolf from the Three Little Pigs esca I thought the book was creative because a boy named Alex woke up and he was playing baseball with the characters from the Wizard of Oz and the Three Little Pigs. He was on his favorite baseball field, Ebbets Field. When his name was announced from the loudspeaker, he was smiling and laughing. Alex's team was Dorothy, Tin Man, Toto, Frog and Br'er Rabbit. Alex played first base. In the first inning, Alex was batting he hit a homerun over the fence. The big bad wolf from the Three Little Pigs escaped from jail and was at the field. When Alex was rounding 2nd base, the big bad wolf said "what do you think you are doing" and Alex responded in a rude tone he said just let me walk the bases and then we can talk. They got in a fight and when the police came, they took the wolf and the wolf said to Alex that he would find him and hurt him. They played the rest of the game. There was nothing else exciting in the other innings. Alex's team won. The wolf never came back. I liked the book but I wouldn't recommend it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shazzer

    Despite the fantastical premise (which seemed right up my alley), it took me about a third of the book to really get into the story. Baseball's just not my thing, I guess. But once I was invested in the characters, it all went much smoother, and I could get back to enjoying all the little cameos from books and characters I've loved all my life (I especially loved the brief, unheralded appearance of Tintin and Snowy). The ending was a little neat for my taste, but at the same time, not a traditio Despite the fantastical premise (which seemed right up my alley), it took me about a third of the book to really get into the story. Baseball's just not my thing, I guess. But once I was invested in the characters, it all went much smoother, and I could get back to enjoying all the little cameos from books and characters I've loved all my life (I especially loved the brief, unheralded appearance of Tintin and Snowy). The ending was a little neat for my taste, but at the same time, not a traditional happily ever after. I think this would be a book to recommend to baseball fans, fantasy fans, Wizard of Oz fans and voracious readers of all kinds who will thrill at seeing their favorite characters in a new setting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laela

    I wanted to LOVE this book. Fantasy + Baseball how could I go wrong? I was having fun trying to guess who the storybook characters were, and seeing the how bad the Big Bad wolf could be. Then WHAM, this book is also about a kid dying. I didn't even see it coming. I can't worry about storybook characters disappearing or playing baseball tournaments when there are ports and chemotherapy being discussed. It was too much reality in my fantasy. I am not a big fan of cancer books, and I certainly don't I wanted to LOVE this book. Fantasy + Baseball how could I go wrong? I was having fun trying to guess who the storybook characters were, and seeing the how bad the Big Bad wolf could be. Then WHAM, this book is also about a kid dying. I didn't even see it coming. I can't worry about storybook characters disappearing or playing baseball tournaments when there are ports and chemotherapy being discussed. It was too much reality in my fantasy. I am not a big fan of cancer books, and I certainly don't want it slipped into a book that is supposed to be about baseball. The premise of this book is good, the execution was terrible.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christiane

    Lots of people play in fantasy baseball leagues, but not like this. Alex isn't quite sure how he comes to be playing first base on the Oz Cyclones, along with Dorothy, Toad ("The Toad, actually...as in Toad of Toad Hall. I'm sure you've heard of me."), a flying monkey, Br'er Rabbit and other "Storybooks", characters from fiction and folklore who live on forever as long as someone still believes in them. Nor does he mean to antagonize the Big Bad Wolf…. Now he’s stuck here unless the Cyclones can Lots of people play in fantasy baseball leagues, but not like this. Alex isn't quite sure how he comes to be playing first base on the Oz Cyclones, along with Dorothy, Toad ("The Toad, actually...as in Toad of Toad Hall. I'm sure you've heard of me."), a flying monkey, Br'er Rabbit and other "Storybooks", characters from fiction and folklore who live on forever as long as someone still believes in them. Nor does he mean to antagonize the Big Bad Wolf…. Now he’s stuck here unless the Cyclones can win the Ever After Baseball Tournament. Fun book for baseball and fantasy fans.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    What fun this was to read! A great combination for book lovers and baseball fans. A really great story about the worlds and characters that authors create and children believe in. A lot more fun to read for readers who have read a wide variety of children's storybooks and will know the wide spectrum of characters and worlds that are refered to. As a sort of bonus, there's also a touching side to the story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This book has a pretty solid plotline - young Alex finds himself in the topsy-turvy world of Ever After, where he's on a baseball team with several children's book characters. Despite his fabulous ball-playing skills, Alex has a huge problem... the Big Bad Wolf is after him. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I found this book to be a little bit underdone. However, fans of classic children's literature will appreciate all the sly references and phrases from their favorite books.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carol Crenshaw

    Can you imagine playing in a baseball tournament with characters from children's books? Toads, dragons, Pinnochio, Big Bad Wolf, wizards, princesses and many others bring their teams to compete. The problem is they can only play if readers still believe in them. Alex finds himself in this crazy tournament and all he wants to do is go home. It's one crazy team match-up after another. Join Alex in this tournament of a lifetime and find out if he's smart enough to find the way home.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dana Tuss

    It is such a clever book! I immediately want to read it again to see what I missed the first time. And even better? The 8-year-old proclaimed it "awesome!" It was so fun reading it to him and seeing his eyes light up when he "got" a clever plot twist or play on words. By the end he was finishing some sentences since he could anticipate what would happen. I read ahead to see how the sick boy angle played out and I thought it was handled well.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    Alex awakes to find himself amid a world of storybook characters. He is on a baseball team with Dorothy, the Tin-man (and others). Various characters make appearances some of which only a limited number of readers will understand. Inventive idea but perhaps will be hard to follow for some young readers.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Serina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I do agree a good solid read. I liked how it just suddenly hit that the opening pieces was his other life. The only part I didn't like was how the boy was okay with seeing ones like Humpty Dumpty, Flying monkeys etc, but couldn't believe that he was a dream of someone. For that reason I had to drop a star.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dan Shonka

    This is a clever story. Gratz does a marvelous job blending traditional fairy-tale characters with baseball. There are plenty of witty lines to make you smile or even laugh out loud. And there's also an aspect of the story that will move your emotions to tears. I think there can be no better endorsement of a story than to hear that it will move you to feel the whole range of emotions.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Durkee-erwin

    A childrens book but adults will have quite a bit of fun reading along since there are so many "hidden" gems of old books vs. new books in this really clever book about what the characters from storybooks do during baseball season. Very fun read!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    read it with my 13 year old for his summer reading project. It had a few moments that were nice, but it was mostly depressing. It was also quite heavy with baseball jargon, which is understandable but if you don't know much about baseball, it's confusing and boring.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Wonderful use of storybook characters. Might make some kids want to go read a few classics.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Josh Newhouse

    A little bit of the anybodies, a little alice, a heap of oz, and a slightly predictable ending... Onlygripe there are 4 outs in the climactic inning ender!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    Sad but engaging grades 4-6

  29. 4 out of 5

    Farendse98

    i didnt read it yet but i need the books isbn

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nate

    It is a very great book and I'm not much of a fan of sports books. This one though was hard to put down

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