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About the B'nai Bagels

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  312 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
THE REAL NAME of the Little League team was the B'nai B'rith, but everyone called them the B'nai Bagels. Their manager was Bessie Setzer, but every one called her Mother Bagel, and the team grew to love her and even Spencer, Brother Bagel, their coach.

Which was fine for everyone but Mark Setzer. For him it made problems. Because with a mother as manager and a brother as c

Paperback, 172 pages
Published March 1st 1985 by Dell (first published 1971)
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Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

About the B'nai Bagels was first published in 1969, on the heels of Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which won a 1968 Newbery honor and the 1968 Newbery medal respectively. It had a couple of tough acts to follow, but overall, I think it rose to the occasion.

Mark Setzer is twelve years old. He's coping with the loss of his best friend who has recently mov
Mark Katz
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review is belated to the tune of 42 years, but having heard of E.L. Konigsburg's passing, I feel compelled to write about one of the favorite books of my adolescence, About the B'nai Bagels. My 11 year old self was captivated by Mark who seemed so much like me: a Jewish boy starting to come to grips with himself and his place in the world. Unlike Konigsburg's Mark, I wasn't on a baseball team and God did not live in the light fixture in my kitchen; but so much of his life felt authentic to ...more
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I remember my fourth grade teacher reading this book aloud to the class the year it came out. For a girl growing up in the Midwestern suburbs, it was a revelation. I wouldn't even see a real bagel until I went to college eight years later. Re-reading it as an adult allowed me to see how good a writer Konigsberg truly was. She wove very adult themes such as anti-semitism into a "children's book" with sensitivity, while telling a very relatable, very funny story about family and about America's fa ...more
May 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is a book where Mark or Moshe as his mother calls him plays through a little league sason of baseball with the problems a regular kid has. Having to win back a friend, trying to get better, and he has to do his bar mitzah. Then it gets more serious as his mother is the manager of his team and so is his brother as a coach. Now Mark has more complex problems like having to deal with a rasict kid calling him a "Jew"

I can connect to the world how people are all racist whether they want to
Jun 05, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 stars - an all-American, 1960s story of adolescence, family and baseball.

"Barry Jacobs and Hersch came to watch, too. They kept close to each other, and at first, I stayed with them. But we were like two fingers and a thumb, me being the thumb, a bit shorter and fatter and separated." Oh, the third-wheel thumb. It is definitely a sore experience to stick out.

"'MOTHER: 'I'm more worried that if he finds that he can't have that little corner of privacy at home, he'll look somewhere else for it
Karen Walton
I remember liking this book as a kid. And I just finished reading it aloud with my 10 year old son. The story held his interest, and we enjoyed the humor. My son would giggle out loud as I read. I enjoyed sharing a story with my boy in which the main character, almost the same age as himself, is struggling through issues of family, identity, work ethic, honesty, loyalty, and friendship. On the other hand, I had forgotten how many references are made to "Playboy" in the book. I was sorry to see h ...more
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The protagonist of this book is Mark Setzer who is a young kid. Mark has a lot of stuff on his mind. He is nervous about his upcoming bar mitzvah, and he doesnt see his best friend anymore. Mark's mother becomes a manager of a little league baseball team, which Mark is on. The team does well and they go onto the championship. Mark has a major secret, but he doesnt want to tell anyone.

I wouldn't really recommend this book to anyone, just by looking at the cover of the book i was able to predict
Apr 30, 2013 rated it liked it
My homage to Konigsburg continues - I am finding it interesting to see the sheer range of subjects that she covered in her fictions but I have to say that the books that I have really enjoyed the most are all about keeping secrets - Jamie and Claudia in the Metropolitan Museum; the quartet in View from Saturday who have layers and layers of secrets to uncover and the secret of whether or not Caroline is or isn't really who she says in Father's Arcane Daughter - B'nai Bagels is lively and paints ...more
Alisha Erin
May 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
I LOVE EL Konigsburg, but this was not a winner at all. Very disappointed. It was mostly fine, except that the tension in the story largely revolved around 12 year old boys hiding porn magazines and looking at them, and it is wholly accepted as 'normal.' I was very disappointed in how it was promoted and even more so that it was dealt with this way in a book for children. I picked this up for free at the library giveaway table and I am very glad I read it so that it is not where my reading 6-yea ...more
Apr 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
How can I adequately relate just how much this book meant to me? The wisdom of E.L. Konigsburg, spoken at such unexpected turns throughout the book, is some of the most purely insightful reading that I have EVER seen, ANYWHERE. The things said in this book were at times so shockingly perceptive, as if E.L. Konigsburg had a direct connection to my heart, that I would reread a line (or entire paragraph) again and again and again, not wanting to move on to the rest of the book. I simply cannot und ...more
Keilani Ludlow
Nov 25, 2012 rated it liked it
I have found most of this author's books to be delightful little bites of life. This book is the same. Not a specific plot per se, just a piece out of a family's life told from the perspective of the nearly 12 year old son. Love the Jewish families. Don't know why, just do. It's like reading about a pioneer or pilgrim or mining family, it just fits as a little piece of American life with the deligthful language/word usage that is singular to eastern American Jewish families, mixed up with the fu ...more
Oct 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Reading level 5.4

An Ok story about baseball team and friendship (and how it changes) I just didn't love how the author used hiding a "playgirl" as a means to show that a boy needs some privacy, or that it was his right, it was a little weird to me. The book isn't my favoirte anyway, although it explored learning about different people (the main character is a Jew) and how others view you based on what you "are" Also about how big brother's grow up and change. But it was a little weird for me. Pr
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although it takes place in the late 1960s, this story is ahead of its time. Take a synagogue-sponsored Little League Team; the narrator's outspoken, baseball-loving mother as coach; a pair of gifted twins whose pitching talents literally mirror each other's, and .... Playboy Magazine. Yep, Hugh Hefner's publication figures in there as well, at a time when it cost only 75 cents an issue. Now take THAT salmon and smoke it!
Amber the Human
Sep 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this book while working for a company I realllllly didn't like. So it will always kind of live in my head in the same space. But I remember this book being clever, especially the ending. It was that kind of clever where the author has made you believe you can trust her, and then she takes you on a wild ride in the last crucial chapters. Kind of like Ocean's 11. But with Jewish teenagers instead of hot outlaws.
Mirele Kessous
This is a coming-of-age story told from a 12 yr. old boy's perspective. It's rather dated, but it's an interesting glimpse into the culture of New York City Jewry in the 1970's. The mother is quite a character.
The boy's mom becomes the manager of his baseball team. Can she turn it into a success? Memorable characters, tender, realistic, but a little predictable for adults.
Sep 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anonymously evil campers of Tigerclaw
The book that Konigsburg wrote AFTER Mixed-Up Files, this book is a delicious stew of hapless Little Leaguers, a Jewish mother who addresses God through the ceiling lamp, and nickel-a-peep Playboy entrepeneurs. Watch this unlikely team of misfits go through a kooky training period where it seems like... well, it seems like nothing is going to go right.
Feb 23, 2012 rated it liked it
The story is sweet, but wow--does this book show its age. The funniest thing to me was the whole "Playgirl" side story. It wasn't until about halfway through the book that I realized it wasn't just bad editing, that "Playgirl" hadn't actually been invented when this was published and it was Konigsburg's pseudonym for "Playboy".
Sloan Cherry
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book that no one knows about. It's about a boy who's mother Nd brother coach his baseball team. The boy is 12 years old and is having a lot of problems in his live. People are making fun of him because his mom is coaching his team, he is always getting into fights with his brother and he doesn't have a lot of friends. Very realistic.
Melissa Namba
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
a good story about a boy whose mother becomes the manager of his baseball team. he is Jewish and that plays into some of his troubles but is also enlightening to the non jew. there is a bit about pornography so I'd that bothers you, keep your kids away. I like that everyone makes the right decision in the end.
Apr 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youth
a fun read about a little league team. mark's mom becomes the manager and his older brother is the coach. and mark's bar mitzvah is approaching. Not only does he grow up in the eyes of his religious community, but he also grows up on the baseball field. great ending.
May 29, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban, funny, sports
I love Konigsburg -- and this does have her trademark wit and sparkly style -- but I'm sorry to say I still couldn't get in to it. There's something about it -- the hippie college brother, the language -- that feels dated.
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What's not to love? Jews, baseball, even, yes, bagels.

Among other things I was struck by the sophistication of the book. There's quite a funny joke about the Ford Foundation, for example. Hard to imagine that in a book for preteens today.
Konigsburg books never disappoint. Her characters are richly painted, her style develops empathy and understanding, always worthwhile reading!I hadn't heard of this one but have now purchased a copy of my own.
Mar 31, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't thrilled. I liked it until it was about how 12 year old boys should have the right to look at Playboy.
E.L. Konigburg Weeks 2012, Book 5.
Konigsburg was my favorite author for awhile (around age 10), and I read all of the books of hers that I could find. I think someone who likes baseball would especially like this one of hers.
Jacob Chreky
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bob ren
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
best book about duckys!
May 17, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-books, jews
Written in 1969. Mark Setzer has to have his mother and brother as manager and coach or his B'nai B'rith little league team. The boys pay a nickel for a peek at Playboy. Cute.
Hana Bi
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was hard to read because it spoke the truth about relationships. It hurt where it hit. It was a homerun for me.
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Elaine Lobl Konigsburg was an American author and illustrator of children's books and young adult fiction. She was the only author to win the Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor in the same year (1968), with her second and first books respectively: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth. Kongisburg won a second Newbery ...more
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