Building a Team (Baseball Buddies) | Critical Book Review

Aaron Derr’s Building a Team (Baseball Buddies) unfolds as a nostalgic homage to the spirit of baseball, exploring the enduring values it imparts on players. In this critical review, we delve into the layers of this Red Chair Press novel.


The Pitch-Perfect Start

Derr sets the tone with the infectious joy of the baseball season’s commencement, chronicling the journey of a group of young teammates throughout a season. A classic blend of sports banter, vibrant characters, and insightful reflections on friendship and rivalry ensues.


Navigating Leadership Dynamics

The narrative introduces 11-year-old Luis, an unsuspecting newcomer thrust into the role of team captain. Derr masterfully navigates the dynamics of camaraderie and conflict as Luis grapples with the responsibilities of leadership. Coach Joe’s guidance adds a layer of complexity, emphasizing the delicate balance between fun and hard work.


Character Evolution on the Diamond

In the vein of timeless baseball tales, Building a Team unfolds as a saga of characters transcending limitations and biases. Gary’s passion for the game clashes with his lack of confidence, while Aliyah’s eagerness to prove herself leads to unnecessary conflicts. Luis, earnest in his captaincy, becomes the catalyst for revealing hidden issues and fostering mutual growth.


Dialogue, Illustrations, and Emotional Resonance

Derr’s dialogue and LaCoste’s emotive illustrations breathe life into the characters, rendering their struggles both poignant and relatable. The interweaving narratives of the Manatees’ season and individual journeys inject practical values about teamwork, community building, and supporting friends.


Balancing Lessons with Playfulness

While the narrative imparts moral lessons, it doesn’t shy away from the sheer enjoyment of the game. The prose, simple and captivating, seamlessly blends moral growth with exhilarating baseball moments, such as Luis and Jimmie’s home run competition, showcasing a rare sense of playfulness reminiscent of little league camaraderie.


A Heartwarming Triumph

Building a Team transcends its genre, demonstrating how the Manatees evolve as both players and individuals, all while reveling in the joy of the game. Derr crafts a heartwarming story that resonates not only with its target audience but also with older readers, invoking a nostalgic longing for the baseball diamond.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, ISBN: Modern Table Style

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Red Chair PressMiddle Grade Fiction152 pages9781643712840

Aaron Derr’s Building a Team (Baseball Buddies) unfolds as a nostalgic homage to the spirit of baseball, exploring the enduring values it imparts on players. In this critical review, we delve into the layers of this Red Chair Press novel. The Pitch-Perfect Start Derr sets the tone with the infectious joy of the baseball season’s…