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The Rhino in Right Field

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  341 ratings  ·  81 reviews
A boy who loves baseball must get past his hard-working immigrant parents—and the rhino in the outfield—to become a batboy in this laugh-out-loud middle grade novel in the tradition of The Sandlot.

Nick wants to change his life. For twelve years, he’s done what his hard-working, immigrant parents want him to do. Now he’s looking for his own American dream and he thinks he’s
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
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Melanie Dulaney
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
DeKeyser’s newest book really earns 4.5 stars from this middle grades librarian. It didn’t rock my world enough to garner a 5 star rating, but I was completely sucked in and struggled to slow down and really read it instead of just skim because I was anxious to see how things were going to work out for Nick, the book’s main character. The setting of “Rhino” is 1948 Milwaukee, Wisconsin right near the very real Washington Park Zoo and in the heart of town with a diverse population of immigrant fa ...more
Angela Germany
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great clean fun 6-7th grade read. It reminded me of the Sandlot with a bit of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and a smidgen of A League of Their Own.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-2021-mhl
Fun book! The author did a great job of taking us back to the 1940's where boys (and girls) lived for baseball. She did a great job of finding the voice of young boys and also showed us how immigrants instilled a terrific work ethic into their families! Awesome!!! Just talked to my dad who worked for Milwaukee Braves and sat next to Bill Veek (Joe Daggett character) during 1945 World Series. Apparently his son owns the Saint Paul Saints which carries on the tradition of fun baseball games! Getti ...more
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Immigration theme July Children's Books, chose for that theme. Did not read blurb, and so did not realize that the rhino is real, not a metaphor or a nickname. Also it takes place in 1948.

It begins like a fairly generic historical fiction about the son of an immigrant, but is engaging enough that I will pick it up again.

Ok done.

Kept on as it started. They historical part was always more scaffolding & subplot than focus, which made it a fun read, but I didn't like how the main character obeyed h
Ms. Yingling
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss
I really liked the details about the life of a Greek immigrant family, and the inclusion of baseball was good as well. The old-fashioned zoo might be a little hard for modern readers to visualize.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lots of fun for kids and adults who love baseball and history, especially for people from Milwaukee.
Janet Hutchinson
Cute story! The immigrant story, paired with that all-American sport of baseball.
Patty Palmer
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Rhino in Right Field

Twelve-year-old Nick Spirakis is a boy who dreams of making a name for himself. He has the hardworking part down pat, as he’s being raised in his family’s hat and shoe business. In fact, every Saturday, he works alongside his Greek immigrant father in the shop as a young apprentice. Secretly, he wishes he were playing baseball with his friends instead.

Any chance Nick gets, he is at the local zoo, which doubles as a ball field for Nick and his friends to play their own sma
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I received this as an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Set in the 1940s, Nick and his friends play pickup baseball games at the local greenspace, which so happens to be in the middle of the city zoo. Nick's outfield position places him way too close to the Rhino exhibit and sometimes he has to retrieve a stray ball from the rhino's pen. However, his love of baseball makes him take chances and continue to face his rhino fears. Nick's family is originally from Greece and the
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
The Rhino in Right Field by Stacy Dekeyser, 257 pages. Margaret K. McElderry (Simon and Schuster), 2018. $18.

Content: Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.



Nick lives with his Greek immigrant parents and helps at the family shoe store. Nick and his best friend, Ace, are excited about a bat boy contest that the city’s baseball team is hosting, but Nick’s father wants Nick to work at the shoe store on the day of the contest. Nick and
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sequoyah
So many students love sports and animals, so what’s not to love? And it’s funny and relatable. I have seen parents comment about all the tough issues books cover (and many of those are amazing) and ask if there are books that are just fun reading, well, this is a great example.

Even though it takes place in the 1940s, the story is every bit relatable to students today, with bullies, friendship and family relationships to navigate. The characters are all enjoyable and interesting. The bits of Gree
Debbie Tanner
This is a very fun story about Nick Spirakis, the son of Greek immigrants, who is growing up in the midwest in the 1940s. Nick's dad works hard in the family business-shining and repairing shoes and hats. Nick is expected to also work hard on weekends as well as go to school (both regular and Greek). Nick's real passion is baseball. He and his friends typically play at the park, which backs up to a zoo. In fact, the rhino's cage is on the other side of right field, which makes hitting the ball o ...more
Anita McDivitt Barrios
End the summer right. In right field, that is.

This is a gem of a story. Just look at the cover. Anything that features a rhino butt in a baseball cap is sure to grab - and hold - my son's (reading) attention.

For me, it brought back fond memories of sharing a fence with the farm team for the Toronto Blue Jays in my hometown. My elementary school held "Field Day" on their field, and players would hit balls over the chain-link to us when we were at recess.

This story was even better - it mixed rhino
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an historical fiction story about a twelve year old with a love of baseball. Nick and his friends play in the field that is right next to the city zoo so there is actually a rhinoceros just over the fence. When a new owner buys the town's minor league baseball team, Nick is determined to win a contest so he can be batboy for a day. Nick finds a way to enter the contest which is on a Saturday, a day that his father requires him to work at their shop, but it means being dishonest. This sto ...more
Elizabeth Seals
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this book, we follow Nick's adventures in attempting to win the Mudpuppies for a day contest! His first challenge is sneaking around his parents and defeating his number one enemy, Taki. Armed with his friend Ace, Penny, and Tank the rhino, Nick learns just how much it takes to become a mudpuppy and fight for his dreams.
I never thought I would enjoy a book about baseball until this book! Everyone was entertaining and the book never lagged in pace. It was even extra special when I discovered
Deana Metzke
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Young readers who have seen and enjoyed the movie The Sandlot will enjoy this book. The main character, Nick, and his friends play baseball as often as they can, when they aren't at school or in Nick's case on Saturdays, at work. When the opportunity of their young lives, being a batboy for the minor league team, becomes available, Nick has to decide what he will risk for this chance. I do agree with a different reviewer that some readers may have difficulty visualizing this book with the differ ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A superb book for the entire family. I read it aloud to my children, who routinely asked to hear more. The protagonist's coming off age story-- set in 1948-- gives the author a chance to ruminate on generation gaps, gender roles, and the meaning of America. She does all of this in such a fun, breezy style that it will keep children engaged, while also giving their parents something to think about. I'd recommend Ms. DeKeyser's appearance on the Baseball By the Book podcast if anyone would like to ...more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
When you only have one baseball and baseball field is up against the rhino enclosure, a home run to right is a real issue! Nick's got other issues too. He can't catch a fly ball, Greek school, Pete the Bully and now his hard-working Dad won't let him off working in the shop on Saturday to go the Bat boy Competition at the Mud Puppies game. What's a guy to do?

Set in 1948 Milwaukee, warm funny characters, plenty of baseball, a girl with a great arm and Nick's wonderful voice made this a sweet read
Eileen Winfrey
This reminded me of The Sandlot in many ways, except with a focus on Nick’s family and being a first generation American. Told around a middle schoolers love for baseball, the story deals with that struggle between obeying the parents you love and doing something that you really want to do when they say no. Colorful characters and a heartwarming tale. Would read aloud, but prepare to explain to this generation what a cheesecake magazine is 😂
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m so glad this book was placed on our state reading list for this year. Great historical fiction! It took place before my time but it brought back some great memories for me. I’m not a fan of baseball but I couldn’t help but cheer for Nick throughout the story. I could tell in reading this that Nick is near and dear to the author’s heart. I can’t wait to recommend this to my students when school begins again.
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-books
The Rhino in Right Field by Stacy DeKeyser has something for everyone. It's both funny and touching, with action and thoughtfulness. Fans of Jennifer L. Holm's Turtle in Paradise and Full of Beans will love getting to know Nick, Ace, Penny and Tank! Be sure to read to the very last word of the Author's Note.
Janet Lawler
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stacy DeKeyser knows how to tell a story, and she doesn't disappoint with this wonderful mid-grade read. You'll fall in love with the characters, the setting (late 40's midwest), and even the 2,580 pound rhino! Greek heritage, relatable "average-kid" insecurities, baseball, and women's rights subplot threads give this story great depth and appeal.
2020 Children's Sequoyah Masterlist

I enjoyed this much more than I expected. However, I think it will be a hard sell to my students. Baseball books never do well with my population, and to add to that, this book takes place in 1948. I don't think my kids will "get" the slang. I will try to get them into it though!
I loved how this book was true to the historical parts of the story. Great story!
Diana Pettis
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great coming of age story. Loved it.
Catherine  Mustread
Heard author interview on Justin McGuire's Baseball by the Book podcast, 123118.
Mary Vanderkooy
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile, fiction
A fun story about a boy, baseball and a rhinoceros.
Ali H
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love that this book takes place in Milwaukee! It’s a fun read with great characters. Anyone who likes baseball and historical fiction will enjoy it.
Marianne McKiernan
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fun story and even better because it’s true.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was slow at first and the end was kind of weird but I liked it
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Praise for The Rhino in Right Field :

"A solid home run" -- Booklist

"A winner in every way" -- KIRKUS starred review

Praise for The Brixen Witch :

"Fresh and satisfying." -- KIRKUS starred review

"Just right for reaffirming one's belief in the power of story." -- BOOKLIST starred review

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