Ballpark Mysteries #19

The Black Cat Change-Up

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 16 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 03 Apr 2023

Talking about this book? Use #BallparkMysteries19 #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Batter up! It's another Ballpark Mysteries baseball mystery chapter book. Next up is New York City!

Why is a black cat haunting the New York Mets? Kate and Mike arrive in New York for a big game against the Chicago Cubs, but Cookie, the team’s star hitter, is rattled by a phantom feline. Without a win at that night’s game, the Mets’ season might be over. Can Mike and Kate figure out who’s bringing a black cat and bad luck to the team before the big game?

Ballpark Mysteries are the all-star matchup of fun sleuthing and baseball action, perfect for readers of Ron Roy's A to Z Mysteries and Matt Christopher's sports books, and younger siblings of Mike Lupica fans. Each Ballpark Mystery also features Dugout Notes with more amazing baseball facts.

Batter up! It's another Ballpark Mysteries baseball mystery chapter book. Next up is New York City!

Why is a black cat haunting the New York Mets? Kate and Mike arrive in New York for a big game...

Advance Praise

""David A. Kelly will turn any reader into a baseball fan with his series; you don't need to know about baseball to be drawn into the plot. The black cat in the book also speaks to professional baseball players' omens and rituals to ward off bad luck. Author David A Kelly has hit it out of the park, yet again!""

""My 10-year-old son has enjoyed all the books in this series and loved this new addition. He especially liked learning about the Mets, as the book is filled with great facts!""

""My son has read every book in the Ballpark Mysteries series and was so excited when this latest one was released. We set out to read a chapter of The Black Cat Change-Up a night together... but more often did two or three because it was just too exciting to put down. A great gift for any young baseball fan!"""

""David A. Kelly will turn any reader into a baseball fan with his series; you don't need to know about baseball to be drawn into the plot. The black cat in the book also speaks to professional...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781959378006
PRICE $9.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 19 members

Featured Reviews

This is the first of the series that I have read and I think its fantastic! Always a baseball fan myself, it's great reading and learning more and more about the game. The characters are relatable and all the conflicts are dealt with, with great moral problem solving.
Thanks to the author and Netgalley for a temporary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

My children have read many of the Ballpark Mysteries so I was excited to see this on NetGalley. Here is what my child said about this book:

I think that the book was awesome. It really connected to the past. I liked when Ash was trying to get revenge on the Mets and how it reminded her of her grandfather. I think you should put a picture of the real Mr. Met in the book. I did not understand what was wrong with Mr. Met near the end of the book and a picture would have helped.

Was this review helpful?

Review to come in February on blog/goodreads.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

I came across this one on Netgalley and was instantly curious. I do love a good Children/MG mystery and this one looked like it would be perfect for me. And it was! I am not a baseball fan, which is in part because it is not a big thing in my country, I don't even know if we have a team or something? But I couldn't resist this book!

And I didn't even mind that it was so baseball-oriented, if anything I had oodles of fun reading about the game, about the teams, about superstition, about old matches and see a new match. I soaked up the facts about the sport. 

In this book we meet Mike and Kate who are are going to a big match + get to go backstage. I loved seeing them go backstage, meet people, say hi to people they know, and then also solve a mystery. Yep, as soon as they get there we learn of a mystery. Someone is making calls. Someone is leaving cat drawings. There are other things as well and it was great fun to follow this duo and solve the case alongside them. They were both really fun characters. I loved how they both solved the mystery AND had fun watching the match/the pre-game stuff. Sometimes kids in mystery book get so absorbed in the mystery they forget everything around them, but not these kids. 

I was quickly suspicious of two people and then after a revelation of something I was honing in on one person specifically! I won't spoil it of course. Haha, no you will have to read it. Yes, it was easy to figure out, but I don't mind that much. Sometimes one just wants it simple. The suspect was great though, and while I wasn't agreeing on why they did it or why they wanted to do things, I could also understand why they went so far.

I loved the facts at the end about baseball! That was a nice extra and I can appreciate it when people go the extra mile to add something fun!

I also liked the illustrations in the book, a really fun style~

All in all, despite not being a baseball fan myself or having much knowledge about the game, I had so much fun reading this book. Great mystery. Fun facts and fun match. Great characters. I would love to read more books in this series and see what other mysteries are to be solved. Recommended!

Was this review helpful?

"Why is a black cat haunting the New York Mets? Kate and Mike arrive in New York for a big game against the Chicago Cubs, but Cookie, the team’s star hitter, is rattled by a phantom feline. Without a win at that night’s game, the Mets’ season might be over. Can Mike and Kate figure out who’s bringing a black cat and bad luck to the team before the big game?"
This is a children's mystery.
I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley.
This in no way affects my opinion of this book which I read and reviewed voluntarily.

Was this review helpful?

This excellent book not only has a good story plot but teaches baseball history while the story unfolds. Excellent characters. My 8 year old grandson and I both enjoyed it. Now we are off to read the others in this excellent series! Thanks#netgalley and #BooksGoSocial for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Was this review helpful?

E ARC provided by Netgalley

Cousins Kate and Mike are back, and this time they are in New York at the Mets stadium with Kate's mother, who is a sports reporter. The team has a big game against the Chicago Cubs, but the Mets pitcher, Cookie Clifford, is spooked. There have been threatening notes and phone calls that a black cat ghost is going to ruin the game! In 1969, is a game between the Mets and the Cubs, a black cat got onto the field, and the Mets lost the game. Kate and Mike want to find out who is behind the threats; even though it's not really a serious issue, it has thrown Cookie off his game. As is their wont, the two check out the locker room and stadium, and share a lot of the history they find along the way, like the fact that the Mets honor Jackie Robinson, even though he was a Dodgers player! They meet a former ball girl who is now working with the equipment manager, Ash Santo. Her grandfather had played with the team, so she had an in. Mike, who is a little spooked by
Strengths: I learn so much when I read these books, like the fact that ball girls and boys don't travel with the teams. The teams bring along uniforms for the kids working for the home team to wear! I also didn't know that in the 1970s the Mets had Mettle the Mule as their mascot. Kate and Mike get along really well, and the unlimited access they have to the stadiums seems realistic and enviable. What child wouldn't want to meet players and get a good look behind the scenes? The mysteries have enough clues laid out early in the story that a reader who is really trying to solve the mystery has a good chance of doing so. I was a big fan of Sobol's Encyclopedia Brown when I was young, and reading this along with a 2nd or 3rd grader would be a great way to foster critical thinking skills. Meyers' illustrations are fun and help show details of the stadium as well as the players and game. There are lots of humorous moments, and the story moves along quickly. Elementary libraries should definitely have these in prebinds, because they will be in heavy rotation!
Weaknesses: As an adult, I always want to see the perpetrators brought to justice, but since the "crimes" are never that bad, there's not really a need.
What I really think: My children devoured books like this in early elementary school: Baily School Kids, A to Z Mysteries, Magic Treehouse, and the like. This series is perfect for readers beginning to enjoy chapter books and who want to revisit their favorite characters again and again. I am a little concerned that Random House doesn't seem to be publishing the books any more, which seems like a bad decision, since so many young readers are invested in sports and love to see sports stories, especially when they have Dugout Notes about different stadiums.

Was this review helpful?

This book was a great mystery, my 8 year old co-reviewer was gripped from the moment she started reading it. We found the plot lead us in one direction before twisting which kept the mystery going. Spooky the cat was an adorable character and the illustrations were both suitable and downloaded very well in digital format. Thank you!

Was this review helpful?

I had never read this series or any of the books before, but I had heard of the author before. Even without that background story, the book made sense and didn't seem to need the rest of the series to be understood. This book woul be good for a baseball fan. I would say that knowledge of baseball would be the most important background information they would need.

Was this review helpful?

This middle grade chapter book is #19 in a series. This book is deeply rooted in baseball history, including the teams and their stories, with mentions of Mettle, a mule mascot for the Mets and Jackie Robinson. It is definitely something that sets this book apart from other sports chapter books as it has a lot of really interesting facts and stories. The mystery aspect is also sure to win over readers in this age group as it is interesting and fun to follow. The illustrations are nice and well spaced throughout the chapters which are about 6-8 pages long. The font is a good size and the book is a good length at about 120 pages, divided into 13 chapters. Overall I think it would be a great addition to a classroom library, and I think some reluctant readers might find either the baseball or mystery aspects interesting in this one. In my opinion it is a great fit for the middle grade audience it is targeted at. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read and review this book, I might just have to pop out and check out the rest of the books in this series!

Was this review helpful?

My thanks to BooksGoSocial for a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

The Black Cat Change Up is a cute, quick and very enjoyable little children’s mystery set around baseball (though one doesn’t need to know much about the game to enjoy the book) and in this case themes of superstition and cats (the reason why I read it, in case you hadn’t guessed already :D).

Mike Walsh and Kate Hopkins are cousins visiting New York City to attend a baseball game. Kate’s mother is a sports journalist which gives them not only access to games but also back stage access where they get to meet players as well; some are already friends, involved in mysteries they’ve solved in previous books. This time the game they are getting to see is at the New York Mets Stadium, between the Mets and the Cubs. They get to the stadium after a bit of sightseeing, where they are to meet one of the players, Cookie Clifford. But almost as soon as they arrive, they learn of a ‘curse’ which had affected a baseball game between the same teams years ago, where a black cat had appeared on the field and now it seems it is back. Cat drawings with threatening messages are being left pinned around the Mets players’ locker room, and Cookie Clifford is especially terrified. Then someone delivers a cat carrier to him spooking him further. But is it only someone playing a prank, or is it something more serious? Practice and then the game begins, and the children start to look into the matter, which they have to solve fast before the players get too scared and the game ends up impacted. But alongside, they also manage to enjoy the game, some snacks and visit the Mets Hall of Fame!

The Black Cat Change Up is a book which is set in and around the world of baseball giving one a taste of games, baseball facts, and also the excitement and feel of a stadium before games (both among the audiences visiting and the players preparing for the game). We get a tour of the stadium with the different parts of the building—the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, the Mets Hall of Fame and lots more. And there is of course the game itself. But while it does pretty much immerse one in the world of baseball, I found that even for one like me who knows absolutely nothing about the game, I was able to follow along and enjoy it (even if I didn’t quite know the terms or scoring and such). So a book which can equally be enjoyed by fans and non-fans of the game alike (to me, the book’s biggest strength). For those who are more into the game, the author, a former Little League player has included a section of fun facts and trivia at the end, which adds a great touch.

The mystery itself was not baseball centric but to do with black cats and superstition and we see a bit of superstition affecting Mike as well at the start as he develops a fear of Mr Mets, the Mets’ mascot. But as things are resolved, the book also delivers the message that one shouldn’t fall into fears caused by superstition and often times, the things causing it in us, are rather likeable and not to be feared. At the same time, I liked that the children are shown as recognising that everyone has their fears, and rational or irrational, these shouldn’t be made fun of.

The mystery is a very quick one, come across and solved by the kids just over the course of the one game. One can pretty much guess early on the person that is responsible for all that’s happening (I think even the intended audiences would) but one still enjoys following along to see how the children work it out and what the outcome of the game is.

The book is full of fun little illustrations by Mark Meyers which make one’s reading experience all the more enjoyable!

A series I’d certainly be interested in exploring more of!

Was this review helpful?

First of all, thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the preview copy of The Black Cat Change-Up. I read this one with my son to get the target audience's perspective, and the latest installment of Kate and Mike's adventures didn't disappoint. At the end of the book, I asked my son to help me review it, and he said that even though this isn't his favorite Ballpark Mystery, he still really enjoyed it. He liked that he was able to solve the mystery alongside Kate and Mike, even though he knew who the culprit was a smidge before they did. Overall, this book will be one fans of the Ballpark Mysteries series will be looking for. Four stars!

Was this review helpful?

It is the first book in this series that I read, however it's pretty good. Young readers might enjoy it even more. I like the fact that the main "detective" characters are kids. The story was clear, with a little intrigue, with a lot info about the sport but explained and even not a fan of baseball it did not bother me at all.
I recommend it for children 6± and all in all it deserves the time.

Was this review helpful?

I have a sneaking feeling that I should've read some of the series before diving into issue 19 head first but since it's a children's series, it's still remarkably fun! Can't wait to discover more of this series.

Thanks to Netgalley for this advanced reading copy.

Was this review helpful?

I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My nephew loves these books. I enjoy reading them to him. He's very into both baseball and mysteries and I discovered this series when I came across the first one, which takes place at Fenway. Since my brother and I are from Massachusetts, my nephews have been raised as Red Sox fans. Since we read that first book, he's been hooked. Although predictable for an adult, these mysteries are perfect for the elementary-age crowd. We started reading these at the end of his kindergarten year and he's now almost finished with first grade. We haven't read all of these but we are making our way through them.

Although I haven't read this one with him yet, I know he'll love it just as much as he's loved the other books in the series. The writing is easy to read and my nephew can also read these on his own. There's humor and I particularly like that there are facts about baseball, the teams, and the baseball fields throughout the mysteries. Highly recommend this series and I hope the author continues to write more of these.

Was this review helpful?

This is book #19 in the Ballpark Mystery series and I even being an adult I enjoy reading these books a lot. Kate and Mike are great characters, the mysteries are interesting and there a lot of fun illustrations.

Was this review helpful?

The latest installment of this series kept my 8 year old enthralled, as did every book in this series. Some early middle grade readers get stuck on a genre (like, say, fantasy) and have trouble branching out to other topics. Sports lovers (especially the baseball-obsessed, like my son) can find a way into mystery, detective and other suspenseful books through this wonderful series.

Was this review helpful?

Great book. Been Reading this book series since the beginning. Great book to finish or get caught up till the next book comes out

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: