cover image Bat Boy: 2an Inside Look at Spring Training

Bat Boy: 2an Inside Look at Spring Training

Joan Anderson, Littell. Dutton Books, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-525-67511-2

Middle-graders who are more apt to gravitate toward playing fields than libraries are the prime audience for this well-pitched photo-essay. Crisp, conversational text and energetic photos follow 13-year-old Kenny Garibaldi through a grueling yet gratifying 14-hour day as batboy for the San Francisco Giants' spring training in Arizona. Kenny performs such less-than-glamorous tasks as cleaning the mud from players' shoes, carrying their dirty uniforms to the laundry room and stocking the lockers. But a batboy's lot is not all drudgery: Kenny shares a slice of pizza with the visiting Willie Mays, lines up next to the Giants as the national anthem plays and rushes on-field to retrieve thrown bats and helmets. Besides describing Kenny's enticing job, Anderson (Cowboys) briskly portrays the rigors of spring training and takes a quick detour through the farm teams. The selection of pictures by newspaper photographer Cavanaugh strikes a pleasing balance of behind-the-scenes and on-field shots, alternating also between portraits of Kenny and larger views of the ballpark milieu. Sure to hit home with its audience. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)