cover image Take Me Out to the Yakyu

Take Me Out to the Yakyu

Aaron Meshon. S&S/Atheneum, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-4177-4

Debut illustrator Meshon’s comparison of American and Japanese baseball is a skillful double play, entertaining (and educating) young baseball fans while affirming the growing number of children who live between two countries and two cultures. Flat, naïf acrylics and simple words report the boy narrator’s parallel experiences: “In America, Pop Pop gets me a giant foam hand. In Japan, Ji Ji gets me a giant plastic horn. In America, Pop Pop also gets us hot dogs and peanuts.... In Japan, Ji Ji also gets us soba noodles and edamame.” The artwork provides more information (two paper tickets lie on the American food tray, while Ji Ji’s cellphone displays electronic tickets). Meshon’s spreads make it clear that though material circumstances may differ, human emotions are just the same. “Are we there yet?” shouts a speech balloon spouting out of the boy’s station wagon in the American stadium’s parking lot. “Yes, we are!” comes the answer from the bus-train arriving at its Japanese counterpart. Making a book that’s equal parts affection and edification isn’t easy; Meshon’s record is one for one. Ages 2–6. (Feb.)