The Contract (Jeter Publishing) (Hardcover)
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The debut book in the New York Times bestselling Contract series, The Contract is a middle grade baseball novel inspired by the youth of legendary sports icon and role model Derek Jeter.
As a young boy, Derek Jeter dreams of being the shortstop for the New York Yankees. He even imagines himself in the World Series. So when Derek is chosen for the Little League Tigers, he hopes to play shortstop. But on the day of the assignments, Derek Starts at second base. Still, he tries his best while he wishes and dreams of that shortstop spot. And to help him stay focused on school, his parents make him a contract: keep up the grades or no baseball. Derek makes sure he always plays his best game—on and off the baseball field!
Derek Jeter has played Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees for twenty seasons and is a five-time World Series Champion. He is a true legend in professional sports and a role model for young people both on the field and through his Turn 2 Foundation.
Inspired by Derek Jeter’s childhood, The Contract is the first book in Derek Jeter’s middle grade baseball series, an important part of the Jeter Publishing program, which will encompass adult nonfiction titles, children’s picture books, middle grade fiction, Ready-to-Read children’s books, and children’s nonfiction. For more about Jeter Publishing visit JeterPublishing.com.
About the Author
Derek Jeter is a fourteen-time All-Star and five-time World Series winner who has played for one team—the storied New York Yankees—for all twenty seasons of his major league career. His grace and class on and off the field have made him an icon and role model far beyond the world of baseball.
Paul Mantell is the author of more than 100 books for young readers, including books in the Hardy Boys and Matt Christopher series.
For his eponymous imprint, the New York Yankees star leads off with a self-referential tale of Little League triumphs. In the first of a projected 10 episodes based on the same number of "Life Lessons" espoused by the lead author's Turn 2 Foundation, third-grader Derek turns in an essay announcing that his dream is to play shortstop for the New York Yankees (No. 1 on the Turn 2 list: "Set your goals high"). His parents take him seriously enough not only to present him with a "contract" that promises rewards for behaviors like working hard and avoiding alcohol and drugs, but also to put a flea in the ear of his teacher after she gives him a B-minus on the essay for being unrealistic. Derek then goes on to pull up his math grade. He also proceeds to pull off brilliant plays for his new Little League team despite finding himself stuck at second base while the coach's son makes multiple bad decisions at shortstop and, worse, publicly puts down other team members. Jeter serves as his own best example of the chosen theme's theoretical validity, but as he never acknowledges that making the majors (in any sport) requires uncommon physical talent as well as ambition and determination, this values-driven pitch is well out of the strike zone. Plenty of baseball action...
— Kirkus Reviews
In the debut novel from Jeter’s post-retirement venture, Jeter Publishing, third-grader Derek dreams of a career playing shortstop for the New York Yankees. His parents even have him sign a contract—the first of many—stipulating expectations for his schoolwork, good sportsmanship, self-respect, and so on, with rewards if he succeeds. No multimillion-dollar contracts just yet! He will have to settle for dinner at his favorite restaurant. But when his grades start to suffer and he ends up stuck at second base on a losing Little League team, Derek begins to doubt if his dream will ever become a reality. At times, Derek’s rosy homelife and relentless positivity can be a little grating, especially considering the autobiographical nature of the book. Still, the ball game scenes are particularly well done. Jeter is adept at adding nuance to team dynamics; for example, the coach’s son continually receives undeserved accolades. With an automatic audience for this book, libraries would be hard-pressed not to have a copy on the shelf.
This first book in Jeter’s middle grade baseball series offers an inspirational, fictionalized account of Derek’s third grade year when his dream of a baseball career meets the realities of schoolwork and Little League competition. To help Derek achieve his career dream (playing shortstop for the New York Yankees), his parents draw up a “contract” of positive expectations, values, and rewards that the boy signs. Selected to play on Kalamazoo’s Little League Tigers, Derek is disappointed when the coach’s son is given the shortstop position. Derek’s parents and the contract help him channel his frustration into team play, hard work, and excellence as a second baseman. When his math grades dip, he recognizes the need to improve and gets extra help. Derek’s determination, positive attitude toward others, and exceptional athletic talent ensure his success. His parents are a remarkable reservoir of wisdom, guidance, and support: defending his baseball dream to a doubtful teacher, suggesting a positive spin on racial slurs directed at their biracial son; and, arranging Derek’s reward of seeing a Yankees game. Factual biographical information and real relationships are smoothly blended with fiction. Engaging descriptions of young Derek’s aspirations and vulnerability, vivid Little League baseball action, and realistic peer and coach conflicts will resonate with middle grade fans. This purposeful, celebrity-authored book focuses on the first of Jeter’s 10 Life Lessons, “set your goals high.”–Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC
— School Library Journal