Take a group of sports misfits, combine them with a well-meaning but athletically ignorant physics professor and add just a dash of his brash pre-teen granddaughter and you get The Toilet Paper Tigers by Gordon Korman. This story is a little reminiscent of the Bad News Bears but with more goofiness per inning. Each of the chapters is dedicated to a team member and their struggle during the little league season. The team is composed of the dregs of the league, while the boys are eager to play ball they are hampered by having a coach who doesn’t know the difference between a home run and a touchdown. Their salvation, of a sorts, comes from the visiting granddaughter of the professor. She arrives with her New York City attitude all set to whip the boys into a team to be reckoned with. The boys follow her only because she keeps blackmailing them with a photo of the team snapped in the locker room while they were getting dressed.
The characters in this story are likable and easy for the reader to recognize. We have all been where these kids reside, the last to be picked for any sporting event. The main conflict between Corey Johnson and Kristy, the granddaughter crackles like a brush fire, just when you think it might be dying out it springs to life again.
This book is a good read for tweens interested in humorous sports stories. The essential goofiness in the story is a result of the conflict between the Corey and Kristy and their interactions with the rest of the characters. I enjoyed it because it was just fun; I can easily remember having friends with all of the flaws that were exhibited in the story. I heartily recommend this book for readers who like real life situations with a large dash of humor.
The Toilet Paper Tigers by Gordon Korman. Scholastic Inc. NY. 1993. 195pp.