Bats about Baseball: 9

Jean Little, Author, Claire MacKay, Author, Kim LaFave, Illustrator Viking Children's Books $12.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-85270-3
Ryder's grandmother is simply bats about baseball. Cap-wearing Nana's obsession sets the scene for this lighthearted if repetitious tale about Ryder's futile attempt to engage his grandmother in a conversation about his future career while the TV is tuned into a game. His grandmother's responses are not to him but to the players on the tube, as she transforms Ryder's remarks into an enthusiastic commentary on the game (e.g., as the boy speculates on becoming an astronaut, Nana shouts at the screen: ""By Jupiter!... Casey just launched a moon shot right into the Sky Deck""). Though this scenario allows for some clever wordplay, the tale's single focus grows tiresome, and some of the baseball allusions will be lost on youngsters. Nonetheless, enough of Little's (Jess Was the Brave One) and Mackay's (The Minerva Program) humor hits its mark; LaFave's (The Mare's Egg) funky art, meanwhile, adds to the book's charm. Though it lacks (to borrow one of Nana's expressions) ""perfect pitch,"" this volume certainly doesn't strike out. Ages 3-8. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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