cover image The Field Beyond the Outfield

The Field Beyond the Outfield

Mark Teague. Scholastic, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-45173-4

The parents of champion daydreamer Ludlow Grebe decide that the cure for the monsters he sees lurking in his closet is simple: fresh air and exercise. Signed up for a baseball league, the hapless Ludlow languishes in an outfield position so distant ``the other players looked small as ants,'' but where his imagination can roam unfettered. And roam it does: plucked from the real game and whisked to a parallel, infinitely more bizarre one featuring two teams of large beetles, Ludlow is finally given a chance at bat, where in true Walter Mitty style he hits a home run and becomes hero of the day. Teague's ( The Trouble with the Johnsons ; Frog Medicine ) robust illustrations, slightly reminiscent of William Joyce's, are filled with sly detail (don't miss the four-handed umpire signaling to the four-handed pitcher), and his prose is as droll as ever; nevertheless this latest effort seems a bit thinner than his previous ones. Fans may find themselves wishing Teague had uncorked a stronger dose of his distinctive visual style. Ages 6-9. (Apr.)