Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Steve Moore
Illustrator: Steve Moore
Steve has named himself “King of the Bench,” since for every sport he plays, that’s
where he ends up sitting. This year, Steve decides to try out for the baseball team. To Steve’s delight, he and his friends make the team; however, after tryouts Steve develops Bean-o- Phobia, a terrifying fear of being hit in the face with a baseball while up to bat, and he’s not sure how to get rid of it. Throughout the entire season, he’s unable to hit a single pitch. However, on the day of the championship everything that can go wrong does, and Steve ends up on the plate against the toughest pitcher he’s ever seen. The first two pitches send Steve diving for his life, but when that third pitch comes around, Steve is ready to conquer Bean-o- Phobia once and for all, win the game, and finally get off the bench for good.
King of the Bench is perfect for those who love Diary of a Wimpy Kid and similar stories. The story is easy to follow and gains enough momentum so that kids probably won’t want to put it down. It also has comical illustrations on nearly every page that make it enjoyable to look at. The writing is light, funny, and easy to read. This book also is also a great reminder to middle school kids that even though you might not be the best player on the team, or the most popular guy at school, you can still make friends and have fun doing things you love. It is really rewarding to see Steve grow into that realization on his own, and take on fears he though would be impossible to break. Though not a new or particularly outstanding offering to the genre, it is a good, dependable addition to any preteen’s bookshelf, especially one who may be a reluctant reader.
*Contains mild language.