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Field of Beans
Author

Doug Peterson

Published

January 30, 2005 (original)
April 17, 2012 (re-release)

Publisher(s)

ZonderKidz

Field of Beans is a book that talks about having faith.

Plot[]

Today is the day of the big baseball game, with the bases loaded in the last inning with two outs. Junior Asparagus stands at the plate with three balls and two strikes, knowing that if he smacks a base hit, he would knock in the winning runs. Lenny Carrot pitches the ball, with everything seemingly moving in slow motion, as the fans hold their breath. Junior swings, but ends up striking out. Back in the dugout, Boog Pickle, the meanest kid on the team, blames Junior for losing them the game, telling him that if he carried a rabbit's foot for good luck, then he wouldn't strike out. Percy Pea then adds that everyone has something for good luck, except for Junior. It's true as practically every player on the team has a good luck charm; Laura carries a lucky horseshoe, Boog taps the bench three times with his bat every inning, and Jimmy and Jerry Gourd don't wash their uniforms, and that judging by their smell, the team had been winning a lot, until today. Junior doesn't carry any good luck charms because he doesn't believe they have special powers, but now he's not so sure. Reverend Archibald, the coach of the team, tells everyone that just because everyone else is doing something doesn't make it right and that God wants us to follow him, not the crowd, and that he'll lead us in the right direction. Reverend Archibald then tells Junior that a lucky rabbit's foot can't change how a game turns out, though Junior admits that he doesn't know anymore.

Later that afternoon, Junior wanders into the Treasure Trove Bookstore and asks Mr. O'Malley if he has any lucky four-leaf clovers. Mr. O'Malley says that he doesn't, but he does have a storybook that Junior might like to read, before digging through a shelf yanking out books left and right while saying that the book is somewhere in the Sticking-Up-for-What-You-Believe-In section, right next to the Pop-up Math Books, before finding the book, which is entitled Field of Beans. When Junior opens the first page, he sees a huge stadium packed with thousands of baseball fans. At that very moment, four giant words float up from the stands of the stadium, four simple words; ONCE UPON A TIME. The words swirl around Junior, whirling and twirling around him, as he tumbles over and over and over. Junior somersaults through the stands before landing right in the stadium, just as a funny-looking grape runs up to Junior, telling him that he's just in time, all while calling him 'coach'. Junior is baffled, asking the grape why he called him 'coach', the grape answering to Junior that he's his coach, introducing himself as Eli, before telling Junior that this is the biggest game of the year. The stadium is packed with screaming, chanting fans, while Eli explains to Junior that everyone is rooting for the other team, but that's okay, because he doesn't mind going against the crowd when they're rooting for the Relics. When Junior asks who the Relics are, Eli is surprised when he realizes that Junior doesn't know the Baal City Relics, telling him that the Relics have won the Championship for the last forty years.

Eli then explains that everyone wanted to play for the Relics because they had such a great record. Junior asks why the Relics keep winning so much, before Eli answers that if you ask them, they will tell you it's because of the idols they worship. Junior is surprised when he hears that the Relics worship idols, asking what kind of idols, before Eli tells him that they worship lucky idols, then directs Junior's attention to a bean named Shoehorn Joe, explaining that Joe is a legend and that he wears a gold-plated shoehorn in every game because he thinks it will make him win. Junior asks Eli why he doesn't start wearing a lucky charm like the Relics, but Eli tells him that he doesn't believe in lucky charms and that he follows the Lord, the one and only true God, adding that he doesn't trust in lucky charms, he trusts in God, and that today is the big showdown between the Relics and the Lord. Hundreds of beans run out on the field while the crowds are cheering, the beans jumping up and down and tackling each other on the field. Junior is surprised when he sees that that's the team while worried about the odds, before Eli confirms that all 450 of the beans are the players for Baal City, thinking that Junior doesn't know much about this game and tells Junior to try listening to the announcers and that they'll tell him what's happening in the game.

Up in the announcer's box are the announcers, who are Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, welcoming everyone to the game of the century. Larry says that it's a beautiful day for a Baal game and that there's not a cloud in the sky, before Bob tells him that it hasn't rained for three years and that a cloud in the sky would be nice. Despite this, Larry tells everyone that they've got a game for them, which is the Mount Carmel Dodgers versus the Baal City Relics. Bob then tells Larry to tell them about today's game, which Larry proceeds to do, explaining that both teams are going to wheel out a huge barbecue grill and pile it high with their favorite ballpark snacks, and that the Relics are going to rely on their lucky idols to get their charcoal started while Eli is going to ask the Lord to start his grill; whoever gets their grill lit first wins, as well as the fact that they will get a whole bunch of delicious hot dogs and nachos with melty, bubbly, warm cheese on top. The game kicks off with Baal City, the Relics rolling their grill out into the middle of the field, as the players bow before the grill and begin rubbing their lucky charms and praying to their idols. The Relics then ask their idols to answer them and to light their fire, just a spark, but there is no answer. One half hour later, Bob reports that it looks like the Baal City Relics are in big trouble, telling Larry that they're calling up players from their bullpen, but Larry isn't paying attention to what Bob is saying, because he is too busy standing up and singing, to the tune of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game": "Take me out to the Baal Game/Take me out to the crowd/Buy me some peanuts and matzo dough/Follow God! It's the best way to go/So, it's root, root, root for our Lord's team!/If you do, you'll be glad that you came!/Cuz it's one! Two! Three strikes you're out! At the old Baal Game!" Larry is right because the Baal City Relics are striking out and they still can't get a fire to light in their grill.

Many, many hours later, no matter how hard the Relics rub their lucky charms and pray to their idols, their grill won't start. Shoehorn Joe rubs the gold plating right off his shoehorn, but the fire still won't start, until it is finally the Dodgers' turn. Bob then asks Larry to tell everyone about the Dodgers, before Larry tells him that they only have one player on their team, but he's an all-star, telling them that his name is Eli and he's good at dodging trouble from the League Commissioner and with a lifetime average of 356, he leads the league in the wilderness. Bob quips that it's no wonder Eli was named most valuable player two years in a row, to which Larry agrees, further stating that he was in the minors for two seasons, but he worked his way up to being a Major Prophet in record time. Bob then adds that Eli is being coached by a little asparagus, then becomes surprised at what Eli is doing. Eli soaks the grill with kiwi, watermelon, and grape juice three separate times, which causes Junior to have a fit, asking Eli what he's doing and that the charcoal is not going to burn if he dumps juice on it and to use lighter fluid. Eli explains that the Lord can start the grill on fire, even when it's soaked with juice, because he can do anything, while Junior can only shake his head.

Eli then steps forward and boldly begins to pray, telling the Lord that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and to let everyone know that He is God in Baal City. Eli then asks the Lord to answer him, then the people will know that He is the one and only God. The crowd goes so quiet that you can hear a mosquito sneeze, which happens, as Larry tells it "God bless you". And then it happened, a brilliant bolt of lightning blasts the grill, sending the hot dogs and pretzels toward the hungry fans, as the crowd roars. Bob says that the grill is out of there, while Larry adds that the fans are going crazy and that with God's help, Eli stood up against the crowd and pulled off an amazing victory, one for the book. After a long celebration, two words suddenly appear on the scoreboard, two simple words; THE END. Junior knows that that means that the story is over, before telling Eli that he was incredible, but Eli tells Junior that it wasn't him, but rather the Lord, then tells Junior to remember to follow God and not the crowd, and that he will do incredible things in your life too.

All at once, Junior feels himself getting pulled toward the scoreboard, closer and closer, and the next thing he knows, he finds himself back in the Treasure Trove Bookstore, the roaring crowd still ringing in his ears. The next day, Junior steps up to bat, but Boog Pickle blocks his way, telling Junior that he hopes he has a lucky charm. Junior tells Boog that lucky charms don't have any power, though Boog asks him that if lucky charms don't have any power, then how come Laura just got a big hit? Laura hurries from first base to second, but ends up slowing down after a while. Boog then asks what's wrong with her, while the umpire tells Laura that she's out, Laura looking back to see the horseshoes fall from her pocket. Laura then complains that the horseshoes slowed her down because they weight a ton, so because of that, she's not carrying them anymore, admitting that lucky charms don't really work anyway. From that day on, Boog never bothers Junior again. Sometimes Junior gets hits, sometimes he doesn't, sometimes his team wins, and sometimes they don't. But Junior always follows God both on and off the field, while Mr. O'Malley is always in the stands, singing: "Take me out to the Baal Game/Take me out to the crowd/Buy me some peanuts and matzo dough/Follow God! It's the best way to go/So, it's root, root, root for our Lord's team!/If you do, you'll be glad that you came!/Cuz it's one! Two! Three strikes you're out! At the old Baal Game!"

Fun Facts[]

Real-World References[]

  • This is based upon the 1980s sports movie "Field of Dreams".

Gallery[]

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