And so I find that I’ve become what I had always feared:
Dear Mr. Preller,
My name is Elliott and live in a small town in the suburbs of Chicago. I did a book report on one of your books, Six Innings, and I thought I should share it with you a little bit and tell you that I thought your book was one of the best books I’ve ever read. I did my book report in the form of a board game, the objective being to start at home plate and try to be the first one to go all around the board and reach it, with obstacles at every corner (I have attached some pictures of my game to this email). I also got an A+ on it, which is another reason I thought I should send it to you. I deeply hope you reply to this email when you get it.
P.S. I know you’re a Mets fan, and I’m a baseball fan too, but I’m more of a Cubs type. I also know that you’re ashamed that the Mets didn’t make it to the playoffs, so I am deeply sorry.
I replied this way:
I wanna play, I Wanna Play, I WANNA PLAY!
Thanks so much for sharing this with me. I love the photos you sent, too. They confirmed my deep-held belief that I have the best-looking readers in all of children’s literature. Rowling may be making more money, others may get the awards, but my readers brush their teeth.
And that means the world to me.
Elliott, I’m impressed with the energy and creativity you put into your project. Not only did you deserve that A+, I believe your parents should buy you a new car (hopefully one of the more eco-friendly hybrids, but let’s not push it).
A Cubs type, huh? No problem. A couple of years back I finally made the pilgrimage to Wrigley Field. You are lucky to have that historic ballpark in your backyard. My home park, Shea Stadium, is being torn down as I type this; but at least we’ll get new digs, hopefully this time with running water.
But I do have to say that, contrary to your comment, I’m not at all ashamed of my team, the New York Mets. I thought they played hard and came up short. Too many people label that as “choking.” Sometimes you don’t win. I thought their bullpen was deeply flawed. Try as they might, they couldn’t overcome the injuries and roster weaknesses. I thought the effort was there.
But, yeah, it was disappointing. As a Cubs fan, I guess you know all about that.
Thank you again for your letter, for reading my book, and for creating the coolest board game ever. I am humbled and grateful. You should also be thankful to your teacher, who was equally creative and open-minded in accepting, and probably encouraging, a book report that comes in the form of a board game. And, yes, I still wanna play!