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Skinnybones is a 1982 children's novel written by Barbara Park. It is Park's most popular book, and has won numerous awards for children's literature. It was followed up by a sequel in 1988 called Almost Starring Skinnybones.

The story is narrated by the main character, Alex Frankovitch, a rather unpopular and awkward grade school boy.

Plot summary[edit]

Alex wrote a letter in a promotional contest for a cat food company that describes the key points in his young life mainly having to do with Little League baseball.

Alex has played in Little League for six years, his skills in the game are so subpar he refers to himself as "really stinky" when it comes to baseball. He is constantly berated by his nemesis T.J. Stoner, a player widely known for his incredible skill. After numerous attempts to get T.J. to leave him alone fail, Alex tries beating him in a pitching contest, at which he fails miserably. A few days later, their teams are playing a game against each other and T.J. once again tries to make Alex look foolish. During the game, Alex bunts the ball and runs to first, where T.J. is set to get him out. Desperate to stop him, he jumps up and down, screaming "BOOGA BOOGA!" He makes T.J. miss the ball, allowing him to get a double. Then he is called out by the umpire immediately after for interfering with the play at first base. Though he was thrown out, he accomplished something better than getting a double to him which was making T.J. embarrassed. When he looks like he's getting ready to beat Alex up, he runs home and locks himself in his room.

T.J. gets a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for beating Alex's team. Alex, in a twist of good luck, ends up winning the contest from the cat food company that he wrote the letter to at the book's opening. By winning, he will get to appear on a national television commercial. He leaves school that day, nervous about filming it, but eager to be a big star and hoping things will go well.