Twelve-year-old House Jackson--star pitcher and team captain of the Aurora County All-Stars--has been sidelined for a whole sorry year with a broken elbow. He's finally ready to play, but wouldn't you know that the team's only game of the year has been scheduled for the exact same time as the town's200th-anniversary pageant. Now House must face the pageant's director, full-of-herself Frances Shotz (his nemesis and perpetrator of the elbow break), and get his team out of this mess. There's also the matter of a mysterious old recluse who has died and left House a wheezy old dog named Eudora Welty--and a puzzling book of poetry by someone named Walt Whitman. Through the long, hot month of June, House makes surprising and valuable discoveries about family, friendship, poetry . . . and baseball.