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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Baseball Is...Written by Louise Borden and illustrated by Raul Colon. Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster. 2014. $19.99 ages 7 and up

"And baseball is the field -
that expanse of beautiful green,

with a smooth swath of brown
between the infield

and the outfield.


and foul poles..."

I am watching every Blue Jays game with a hopeful heart. I so want them to make the playoffs after such an impressive start this season. I know it's going to be a difficult finish, as they have some tough teams to face in the last two weeks of the season.

I have very much enjoyed reading Louise Borden's homage to the 'grand old game'. For anyone who loves sports, in particular the game of baseball, it is an informative and beautifully worded description of everything that makes the sport special to so many. She adeptly uses the senses to capture the essence of this summer pastime. As you can see from the opening quote, she uses carefully chosen text to bring the sights, sounds and smells to the reader. As fall turns to winter and readers continue to share the text, they will be taken back to the warmth of a summer day and the excitement of the action on the field and off.

She also shares some of the history of the game, making connections from past to present. So, that's how they made their announcements in the past! She also makes mention of how past Presidents made an impact, and some of the most honored players from baseball's history. Baseball has had a role in immigration, business and investment, armed conflict, and even the development of urban areas. Ms. Borden includes every angle of the game, and gives them equal importance.

Raul Colon uses colored pencils for artwork that glows with the golds and greens of every beloved baseball field. The textures are masterful. His double page spreads offer a close look at the game from every corner of the park, using frames to add further detail. The gatefold introduces three iconic baseball heroes to those who may not yet have met them...Babe Ruth, Roberto Clemente, and Jackie Robinson.

Baseball is definitively celebrated in words and artwork. This will ensure its endurance on library shelves for everyone to enjoy time and again. It's like being a the ball park...real or neighborhood! Can't you just smell the hot dogs?

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