Ryan Howard’s Little Rhino
For Ryan Howard, it has been a steep decline over the last three seasons from his previous perch atop the list of the National League’s most vaunted sluggers. But his struggles on the field have not deflated his positive spirit as a person, and that comes through strong in a new children’s book series co-created by the Phillies 1st baseman.
“Little Rhino” is the name of the lead character in the series co-created with his wife, Krystle, for Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books. He is a 3rd grade student named Ryan, whose nickname is Rhino, and who loves the game of baseball.
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In the first book, “My New Team“, Ryan is signed up for Little League by his grandfather. Unfortunately for Rhino, one of his new teammates is the meanest boy in his school. The story highlights some of the challenges posed to Rhino by this boy, Dylan, and shows how Rhino chooses to respond. It all wraps up with the excitement of the team’s very first game.
The second book in the ongoing series, “The Best Bat“, is due to be released at the end of March 2015. It will tell the story of Rhino receiving a new bat from his grandpa. As his team, theMustangs, prepares to play their first game, the bat goes missing, and Rhino believes his nemesis Dylan has taken it. But things may not always be what they seem, a lesson that Little Rhino is sure to learn and pass along to readers. A third book, “Dugout Hero“, is also in the works, due to be released in June.
Krystle Howard is a former Eagles cheerleader.
Krystle Howard is a West Chester University graduate, a former Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader, and former elementary school teacher who has a passion for education and childhood literacy. She helps run the “Big Piece Foundation”, the charitable organization fronted by her husband.
On the ball field, Ryan Howard is at a career crossroads. Now 35-years old, he will be starting his 12th season in Major League Baseball. The Phillies have been very open in their desire to move on from the man who was the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year and 2006 National League Most Valuable Player.
From 2006-2009, Howard hit at least 45 homeruns each season. Over the last three seasons in 1,257 plate appearances, Howard has hit a grand total of 48 homeruns. For the first time in his career, Howard will come to spring training having to fight for a starting job with the Phillies, assuming he is even still with the club by then.
Ryan Howard will ultimately be remembered by fans as he should, as a major force in the middle of the lineup for the greatest sustained run in franchise history and the Big Piece in the 2008 World Series champions lineup. For now, as he fights to extend his career, a new generation of young fans can also enjoy his off the field endeavors in literary form.