by Dave Hammer
Alex M. Clark, illustrator
Word Association Publisher
Back Cover: What happens when every time you think you are ready for success, something goes wrong?
First Sentence: From the time he was a baby, Chad held a baseball bat rattle like he knew how to use it.
Chad’s story begins as an infant, as most children do. Infant Chad takes hold of his baseball shaped rattle ready to step up to the plate. Proud Dad sees a grown Chad playing professional baseball. As Chad grows, baseball grows with him. He begins his career in tee ball, where he hits the ball with greater force and distance than the other kids. Chad is promoted to the coach’s pitch league. Hitting a thrown ball requires different skills than hitting a stationary ball on a tee. But Chad’s swing is too mighty for his body and he falls down with each swing. Three strikes and he is out.
Dad said, “Don’t worry, you’re time will come.”
Chad’s time was not at ages twelve or fourteen, but dad kept cheering him on and giving the same advice: don’t worry, your time will come. The big hitter with the hefty swing was getting left behind by other boys who reached puberty—and the muscles and strength that comes with it—before Chad. He did not make the traveling team. At age fourteen, Chad gets extra batting help with one-on-one lessons. Turns out, he is a thinker and getting inside his own head. Then one day, Chad finds the secret to his own success.
I like Your Time Will Come, but in full disclosure, I love most baseball books. But, Your Time Will Come is less about baseball and more about patience, confidence, and perseverance. Chad needed to learn patience while waiting for his day to shine as a baseball player. He needed to persevere in honing his skills, even when he wasn’t playing on a team, and he did with the batting lessons at age fourteen. Through it all, Chad needed a good dose of self-confidence to keep his spirits up, his mind focused, and his body healthy. Nothing will take you out of the game faster than a bad case of depression or self-doubt.
I thought Chad’s inspiration was odd. He dreams something is talking to him and then draws a picture of that thing on his hand so that it is visible when he holds the bat. It is to remind Chad his time will come, not to worry nor over think what he needs to do. This is almost like a superstition. There are guys—and girls—who insist they will have a bad game unless they are wearing the same unwashed “lucky” socks all season, or must use the same bat, handed to him by the same player, before going to the plate to hit. Athletes are a bunch of crazies (full disclosure, again: I was an athlete and a coach, which equals double-crazies).
The illustrations are really good at representing the game of baseball. Chad’s legs twist as he swings and falls or swings and misses. The look of dejection after striking out and when dad tells a disbelieving Chad his time will come, is perfect childhood angst. Alex M. Clark gets all the dynamics of baseball perfect, right down to the bench of groaning, snickering, angry, and surprised looks on the other players’ faces when Chad is called to pinch-hit—final inning with two outs, man on second, and score tied.
Why is it the protagonist always comes up to bat with two outs in the final inning, either down by one or tied? In basket ball the team is down by two and the main character hits it for a three-pointer—just as the buzzer signals game over!
I think every kid dreams of being the player that saves or wins the game! Boys will be able to identify with Chad, less the dream. Dads will be able to identify with the dad, and, most likely, also with Chad.
The author knows kids well. How true is it for a parent to say something profound and important, only to be ignored by their child? Then one day, the kid comes home all excited after someone, maybe a coach, gives him the same advice. The dream represents this other person offering the sage advice. The author knows the inner workings of boys very well. (In full disclosure, the author was once a boy).
Your Time Will Come, is a great book for dads to give to sons. I think this is one of those books that will have a small niche audience, yet one of the best in that niche. It is perfect not only for the dad with a son who needs encouraged to keep trying and working, but also for the dad of a star athlete who needs reminded to slow down, enjoy the journey, rather than expecting greatness all the time. In any case, this book will encourage your son—or daughter—to hang in there! Your Time Will Come.
by Dave Hammer website Alex M. Clark, illustrator website facebook Word Association Publisher website Released on December 12, 2012 Trailer ISBN: 978-1-59571-845-7 34 Pages Ages 6 to 9 (+)
Copyright ©2012 by Dave Hammer Illustrations copyright ©2012 by Alex M. Clark, used with permission
While getting links I found this blurb on the book’s website. This should be printed on the back of the book, rather than the teaser sentence.
“About the Book:
“Chad is a little down. He had always been so good at his favorite sport, Baseball, until that one day when he struck out and lost every bit of confidence he ever had. Chad’s biggest fan, his father, keeps telling him to never give up and that, eventually, his time will come. Chad can’t quite seem to get back into the swing of things until a random encounter with a very unsuspecting friend who tells his own story of waiting for his chance to shine. Can Chad, with the support of his dad and his new found friend, become the baseball star he’s always dreamed of? Only time will tell.”
“They moved him up to the Coaches’ (sic) Pitch League. But, every time he got up to bat, Chad swung so hard that he fell down and struck out.”
That’s it. When going from a tee ball, stationary ball on a post, to one that is pitched to you, your body must now move with your arms. In tee ball, the kid can swing without worrying about moving is feet. Since it was not clarified Chad lost confidence because of striking out in coach’s pitch league (with older kids), I read it as a mechanics problem, part of which is thinking too much. Maybe striking out and killing Chad’s confidence is supposed to be a given, but there are no “givens” in children’s lit.
I wanted everyone who reads this to understand what the author’s story was supposed to be about. Regardless, I still believe this is a great book for dads and sons.