cover image Elmer and the Chickens vs. Big

Elmer and the Chickens vs. Big

Brian McConnachie. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $14 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-517-57616-8

McConnachie ( Flying Boy ) and Stevenson ( Gone Fishing ) score high with this lighthearted look at what happens when the imagination of a baseball-loving child runs free. Sitting on the fence of his family's farm, Elmer watches as his older brother practices pitching against the barn wall. When Elmer tries out his arm, he wonders what it would be like to pitch in a real game. The chickens at his feet cluck affirmatively when the eager youngster asks, ``You guys want to be on my side?'' Suddenly, a nearby shed becomes a dugout, and the boy finds himself on the mound in a major-league stadium. As a victorious Elmer is carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates--chickens all--one of them pulls at the boy's shoelace, which looks a lot like a worm. Such whimsical touches add considerable humor to Stevenson's frisky pictures, which--like the story--have a timeless appeal. Seeing these athletic chickens dressed in baseball uniforms is home-run material in any league. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)