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Once you’ve reviewed the terms and rules of baseball with your students, you are ready to embark on the reading of the novel. The chapters are fittingly titled as “innings", so you can assign two or three innings to read at a time.
From the beginning to end of the novel, the focus rests almost solely on our nine year old heroine who is lost in the woods for almost a week. Tom Gordon, her “imaginary" companion during her harrowing experience becomes an almost God like figure in her mind, protecting her from the God of the Wasps, an evil being she begins to see after she is brutally stung by numerous wasps This evil god that she has created in her mind, or is it just in her mind, follows her throughout her journey, and at times becomes an almost physical manifestation of her fear of dying alone in the woods.
Also along with Trisha on this journey is a being she christens the “Subaudible", a seemingly ambivalent presence that watches her tiny victories and many disasters, but, for whatever reason cannot interfere or change the course of events. Trisha is slowly coming to terms with the idea of fate, but because she is a young child, she cannot fully understand it as concept, so she crafts this being to help herself understand life’s experiences.
No nine-year-old could possibly survive this week long experience in the woods and yet, our heroine does. She manages to get by and readers are with her every single step of the way, cheering her on the way we cheer on our favorite player all during a baseball game. Trisha becomes our team, our champion, our “closer" and we want to see this situation, or game, come out in her favor.
Use the downloadable power points and quizzes for chapter by chapter key notes, quotes and assessments. This novel will be a grand slam home run for you and your students!
- Photo by Adam Pieniazek under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr