The All-Star Joker
Review: Baseball's All-Stars game is to be played in the Kansas City Royals ballpark, with the hometown favorite Josh Robinson scheduled to start as catcher for the American League. But when a few practical jokes go wrong, and the finger is pointed at Josh, he loses his spot in the line-up in The All-Star Joker, the fifth early chapter mystery in this series by David A. Kelly.
Series regulars Kate Hopkins and Mike Walsh are attending the game with Kate's mother, who is a reporter for the "American Sportz" website. While fielding balls before the home run derby, they meet another youth, Andy Robinson, Josh's son, who may be looking forward to his father playing in the All-Stars game more than Josh is. Josh has a history of playing practical jokes on his teammates, innocent ones that generate a laugh (or a groan) than anything malicious. But malicious activity is exactly what's happening, jokes that may jeopardize the team's performance during the game. The coach blames Josh, and benches him, replacing him with another catcher, Robert "Rocket" Richards from the Toronto Blue Jays. The kids can't believe Josh would sabotage his own chance to play, and decide to identify the "all-star joker" on their own.
This is an entertaining entry in this series, if not a very clever one, mystery-wise. The kids decide early on that the Rocket is the culprit, and devote their energies to pinning the blame on him. It might have made for a better story — and certainly a better mystery — had there been clues for them to follow, leading to the true identity of the "all-star joker". Still, young readers are likely to enjoy following along with Kate and Mike while they solve the mystery, all the while learning about the Kansas City Royals ballpark, and the fun things there are for kids to do there.
A few "dugout notes", fun facts about the ballpark, appear as an addendum to the book.
The publisher lists this book as RL: 2.6, mid-second grade reading level, for readers aged 6 to 9. A Lexile measure has not, as of the date of this review, been assigned for this book.
Acknowledgment: Random House provided a copy of The All-Star Joker for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Astro Outlaw
Random House (Mass Market Paperback), February 2012
ISBN-13: 9780375868832; ISBN-10: 0375868836
Location(s) referenced in The All-Star Joker: Kansas City, Missouri
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The All-Star Joker by David A. Kelly — The Ballpark Mysteries
Publisher: Random House
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: June 2012
List Price: $4.99