What happens when the whole town leaves and doesn’t come back? That’s “It’s the End of the World and I’m In My Bathing Suit,” a comic novel for middle readers by Justin A. Reynolds of Cleveland.
It’s set in Carterville, a lakeside suburb of Cleveland, and the high point of summer is the annual Beach Bash, a daylong festival of music and fireworks. Twelve-year-old Eddie Holloway is all geared up for double cheeseburgers and time with his crush on him.
The flies in Eddie’s slushie are his exasperating brother and his stepfather, Calvin. Eddie’s name for Calvin is Wanna-Be Dad, and he is objectional both for taking the place of Eddie’s late father and for being relentlessly enthusiastic. Eddie resents WBD’s attempts from him to be his pal from him.
Eddie has had a great summer so far because he’s made a bargain with his mother: If he takes care of all his chores, he can have independence. Their versions of taking care of chores do not mesh. Mom expects him to do his laundry on the regular but it’s his most hated task, so he’s come up with a brilliant idea: He’ll wear every item of clothing he owns once, no matter how uncomfortable or ill-fitting. Now he has nothing left but his bathing suit from him, perfect for the beach bash, and a closet full of rank laundry.
Eddie’s plan may not actually violate the bargain, but Mom is a lawyer and she grounds Eddie until every last garment is washed, dried and folded. She and WBD have left, and the work is coming along when the electricity goes off in the house and, seemingly, all over the neighborhood.
With almost everyone else gone, Eddie finds four friends to play a game of ninja zombie and eat all of the forbidden snacks before it slowly occurs to them that it’s getting dark and they’re still the only ones around anywhere. This isn’t as much fun anymore.
The kids’ situation leads to bonding and teamwork. Eddie has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, which contributes to his delightfully silly imagination and nonstop dialogue. Parents should know that the book ends in a cliffhanger and that kids will want to buy the sequel, which has not been announced.
“It’s the End of the World and I’m In My Bathing Suit” (304 pages, hardcover) costs $17.99 from Scholastic and is recommended for grades 3-7. Justin Reynolds’ other books include the Spider-Man graphic novel “Miles Morales: Shock Waves.” He will launch his book in a conversation with writer and illustrator Terri Libenson (“The Pajama Diaries”) from 7 to 8 pm Tuesday at Dobama Theatre, 2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights.
‘Victory on Two Fronts’
Major League Baseball has made many adaptations during the COVID-19 pandemic: shorter seasons, reduced ballpark capacity, contact tracing of players. Challenges affecting the game had been faced before, and Scott Longert examines one in “Victory on Two Fronts: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball through the World War II Era.”
The Indians’ brilliant pitcher Bob Feller, barely out of his teens, enlisted in the Navy two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor; other players did the same. Teams compensated by calling up more players from the minor leagues. More enlightened observers saw an opportunity for integration by adding players from the Negro Leagues, but this didn’t happen until after the war.
Though Cleveland is far inland, provisions had to be made in the case of an enemy attack. An air raid test was conducted during a night game, with spectators given directions on what to do when all lights in Municipal Stadium were extinguished.
Benefit events began almost immediately. Some of the proceeds from the 1942 World Series were given to the USO and the Red Cross; a fund was set up to send baseball equipment to servicemen. Two days after the 1942 All-Star Game in New York, the American League All-Stars, which included Indians player-manager Lou Boudreau, came to Cleveland to play a benefit game against former Major Leaguers who had already enlisted – and the starting pitcher was Feller.
Longert takes his story through the end of the war, when the players who had been in service began to return to their teams, the addition of Larry Doby, the first Black player in the American League, and the triumphant 1948 World Series championship.
“Victory on Two Fronts” (296 pages, softcover) costs $24.95 from Ohio University Press. Scott Longert will talk about his book in a virtual event through the Euclid Library from 6:30 to 7:30 pm Thursday. Register at euclidlibrary.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library: Cincinnati author Jessica Strawser talks about “The Next Thing You Know,” about a musician who becomes a recluse when he learns he is terminally ill, in a Zoom event from 7 to 8 pm Monday. From 7 to 8 pm Tuesday, Marie Benedict discusses Ella’s “Her Hidden Genius,” a historical novel about Rosalind Franklin, the scientist who was n’t credited for her work on the structure of DNA. Register atwhosahogalibrary.org.
Hudson Library & Historical Society: Author Harlan Coben discusses “The Match,” second in his Wilde series about a man who grew up feral in a forest and now returns to find a cousin, with Food Network personality Rachael Ray, author of “This Must Be the Place: Dispatches & Food from the Home Front,” in a Zoom event at 7 pm Monday, rescheduled from March. At 6 pm Tuesday, British novelist Abir Mukherjee talks about “The Shadows of Men,” fifth in his Wyndham & Banerjee detective series set in 1920s India. At 7 pm Wednesday, Neal Thompson discusses “The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty,” about Patrick and Bridget Kennedy, the 35th president’s great-grandparents. Register at hudsonlibrary.org.
Canton Palace Theater (605 Market Ave. N.): Astronaut Nicole Stott joins the Dr. Audrey Lavin Speaking of Books Series, talking about “Back to Earth: What Life in Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet – And Our Mission to Protect It,” 6 :30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Register at starklibrary.org.
Wadsworth Public Library: Joe Lansdale, winner of 11 Bram Stoker Awards and a 2000 Edgar Award for “The Bottoms,” talks about his work, including the Hap and Leonard series (“Born for Trouble: The Further Adventures of Hap and Leonard” is the latest) in a virtual event from 7 to 9 pm Tuesday. Register at wadsworthlibrary.com.
Loganberry Books: Cleveland Heights author Paula McLain talks to Regina Brett about “When the Stars Go Dark” in a virtual event at 8:30 pm Tuesday. Go to loganberrybooks.com for the link.
Union Club (1211 Euclid Ave., Cleveland): Cleveland native and “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent David Pogue, author of “How to Prepare for Climate Change,” appears at a reception and program beginning at 5:30 pm Wednesday. Admission is $25. Get tickets at ccwa.org.
Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library: Novelist Emilie Richards discusses “The House Guests,” about a widow trying to establish a relationship with her stepdaughter and learn more about her late husband, in a Facebook Live event from 7 to 8 pm Wednesday. Go to facebook.com/SMFPL.
Kent State University: Author and historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (“An Indigenous People’s History of the United States”) appears in a virtual event from 7 to 8 pm Wednesday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma-Powers branch, 6996 Powers Blvd.): Community and union organizer Daisy Pitkin discusses “On the Line: A Story of Class, Solidarity, And Two Women’s Epic Fight to Build a Union,” about a five-year battle to organize at an Arizona industrial laundry, 7 to 8 pm Wednesday.
B side (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights): Former Ohio Poet Laureate John Burroughs and poets Victor Clevenger, John Dorsey, Nicole Hennessy and Russell Vidrick read from their work from 6 to 8 pm Thursday. From 6 to 8 pm Saturday, Laura Walter signs the paperback release of “Body of Stars” and Kate Norris signs “When You and I Collide.”
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Maple Valley branch, 1187 Copley Road): In observation of National Poetry Month, Jason Blakely reads from “Collecting Ghosts: The Antique Future,” 2 to 3 pm Saturday.
Elyria Public Library (Central branch, 211 Second St.): A Non-Fiction Author Fair will be held from 10 am to 3 pm Saturday, including book discussions and a local history panel. See the schedule at elyrialibrary.org.
Email information about books of local interest, and event notices at least two weeks in advance to BeaconBookTalk@gmail.com and email@example.com. I tweet at @BarbaraMcI.