Cover Image: Pop Flies, Robo-Pets, and Other Disasters

Pop Flies, Robo-Pets, and Other Disasters

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Member Reviews

This was a good read for kids! I like that it focused on “fitting in” because that’s something we really need to talk about.
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Satoshi is of Japanese heritage but has spent the last three years in Atlanta, GA.  Returning to his place of birth is a major adjustment with baseball being his common ground.  Things are different with all his friends from "before," however, and Satoshi is struggling to fit in on and off the field.  Readers who enjoy baseball and/or learning about other places and cultures will enjoy this one and it's relatively short length will make it approachable for even more reluctant readers in grades 4-6.
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I read this book with my 9 year old son. We enjoyed the story and the characters. I lived in Japan for a year in grad school and my son has visited too, so Japanese culture and language references were familiar to us. I don’t know they they would be for everyone. This is a unique story about culture shock, sticking out, and fitting in. Perfect for our global society!
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Fans of Jake Maddox books will enjoy this illustrated novel about a boy and his baseball team.  Also it would be a good recommend for students that are apprehensive about an impending or recent move and making friends.  It has themes of teamwork and fitting in..
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A fun book, but not what I expected. It was much better than I thought it would be. An easy read with a lot of visual cues; it puts the reader right into the action.  Highly recommended for both male and female middle grade readers.
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I love reading about japanese culture, and baseball being a popular sport in japan, i really wanted to know about it so i picked this book.
Although this was a middle grade book, i felt so attached to the characters and rooted for them throughout their problems.
Satoshi being a japanese kid who has lived in the united states for a few years, comes back to japan with his family. He feels out of place in his own homeland. As he is trying to adapt to the new situation and fitting in, he finds baseball (his beloved sport) a chain that connects him to both america and japan. 
I loved the story and also the illustration.
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This was a pretty good story.  I liked the characters and rooted for Satoshi to be accepted back to his school and that baseball would be what he needed.  I thought there was a great lesson to be learned in this book, but it didn't hit you over the head.
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I like that this isn't your standard story of culture clash. This isn't a spoiled American kid learning about Japanese culture. This is a kid who lived in Japan, moved to the US for a while, and now has returned. He's a kid who doesn't fit in anywhere. He was out of place in the US but began to assimilate. So when the book begins and he is reintegrating his sense of coming home is disrupted by these changes he experienced. It takes that typical middle grade dilemma of trying to work out your place among your peers and ramps it up a couple of notches. I do feel like it leaves out some information, especially regarding the grandfather and the sister. There are elements related to Satoshi's feelings about them and their place in society that are hinted at but never really addressed. I would have liked to have seen more exploration of those issues instead of just his finding his place at school and on the baseball team.
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My stepdaughter loves books like this so she was excited I was able to download it for her to read. It was a fun and easy to follow read.
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Suzanne Kamata knocked it out of the park with her middle-grade novel, Pop Flies, Robo-Pets, and Other Disasters!

Whether you live in the United States, Japan, or elsewhere in the world, Pop Flies by Kamata allows insight into two cultures by comparing and contrasting many moments throughout the story via the lens of a middle-grade boy. Even the act of changing from outdoor shoes to indoor shoes and to bathroom slippers gives awareness to variances between the USA and Japan, often making me, and other readers, pause to ask the question, "Why don't we do that?" But then also the question, "Why do they do that?" Such as when Kamata writes, "I remember how my classmates in Atlanta made fun of me when I peeled my grapes before eating them ... I never knew what I was doing to make people laugh." The story also gives examples of similarities between the two countries, not just baseball but also malls, Rock, Paper, Scissors, bullying, and teamwork.

Reading Pop Flies together as a class would allow middle-grade students to discuss not only cultural differences but also household and friendship differences, which would expand their understanding and compassion for classmates.

This story was a breath of fresh air. In addition to the cultural comparisons and explorations, I thoroughly enjoyed the various dynamics of the characters' families, including the well-described use of sign language. And whether intended by the author or not, I was struck by the parallels between sign language gestures, cultural gestures, and friendship gestures. All have great meaning. "A piece of fruit is hardly enough to thank them ... Still, gestures count."

The artwork is engaging and captures pivotal moments of the story. For that reason, I would highly recommend purchasing this book in the print form to best appreciate the artwork.

Great writing. For example:

"I churn my legs like mad, trying to make up for lost time, but I'm still a hundred feet away from the front door when I hear the chime for first period."

"The guys from Ikeda are wiping at their eyes and noses. I'd almost forgotten about the crying. In America, if you cry after losing a game, you're a total wuss. In Japan, crying after a loss is almost required."

"Now that the rain has lifted, the heat and humidity of summer have moved in. Even this early in the morning it feels as if a dragon is breathing down my back."

Bottom line?
Pop Flies, Robo-Pets, and Other Disasters by Suzanne Kamata is a must read and must purchase for anyone who enjoys baseball, middle-grade novels, Japan, cultural exploration, and reading in general.
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My Review:  I am always on the lookout for baseball themed books for Munchkin and I was rather curious about this one because of the title. What I wasn't expecting from this book is all the interesting Japanese baseball history, I had no idea about many of famous baseball players of the past. The Japanese setting of this book also added a unique element to the story and I feel like it brings a little more understanding that while people come from all parts of the world, there are still many similarities. While throughout the book Satoshi does tend to act like a typical middle school aged student with so much focus on favorite activities and occasional moody outbursts and worries about who to hang out with, Kamata does a great job of bringing the focus back to family and friends, responsibilities and dedication, and the way a simple decision and act can change the whole outlook.

My Rating: I really enjoyed this book and I think it will be one Munchkin will enjoy as well.  It is a great book for Middle Grade readers but anyone can enjoy it.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!
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My nine-year-old son really enjoyed this book.  Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review!
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This is an interesting take on both a fish out of water as well as one on teamwork, that works well together.

Satoshi has returned from three years of being in Atlanta, Georgia, in the states, so, while he grew up in Japan, he is now considered an outsider. He wants to impress his old friends.  He wants to be part of the team,  and he doesn't want to have his sister, who is disabled, made fun of. He also needs to watch out for his grandfather, who has dementia.

Does it sound as thought that is too much to fit in a book, meant for middle-graders? It works, most of the time.

I love how we learn about things in Japan, from the eyes of a Japanese boy who can compare it to how things were in the states. 

My only problem with the book is that the ending felt a bit rushed. 

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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Despite being a perfectly accessible read for younger readers, this book contained a really wonderful amount of insight into japan; the culture, the people and what it's like to be a kid, there and anywhere. 

Really enjoyed this, and my kids did as well, Kamata continues to show her skills here, excelling in her ability to understand being an outsider and an insider in a land that only becomes more interesting with the author as our insightful guide:

Great book for early teens.
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