Thumb on a Diamond


128 pages
ISBN 0-88899-705-1
DDC jC813'.54






Illustrations by Leanne Franson
Reviewed by Deborah Dowson

Deborah Dowson is a Canadian children’s librarian living in Harvard,


The tiny village of New Auckland (pop. 138) is nestled between the
mountains and the ocean on the remote coast of British Columbia. There
are no roads, few phones, and no television. The school’s principal
wants to take the kids on a field trip to Vancouver, but the school
board will fund only sports teams. Susan devises a plan to create a
baseball team, and since it is the only team on the coast, they win
their regional contest by default and are able to go to the provincial
championships in Vancouver. Though they planned to feign illness once
they got there, they instead decide to play. So, along with the novel
experiences of seeing strangers, riding on a bus, taking an escalator,
and eating in a restaurant, the kids from New Auckland play their first
two games of baseball just like “real kids from a real town.”

Roberts promises from the start that this will not be a typical sports
story and he delivers on that promise. The focus is on the characters of
the village and their style of life, and the creative way they use the
game of baseball to achieve their quest. The kids don’t even play
their “big game,” but they do astound everyone by winning a game
against their urban counterparts (just as though this were a typical
sports story). In any case, the book is delightful, amusing,
entertaining, and full of good-natured characters having a lot of fun.
Highly recommended.


Roberts, Ken., “Thumb on a Diamond,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,