cover image Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Maryann Kovalski. Scholastic, $14.95 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-590-45638-8

Kovalski ( The Wheels on the Bus ; Jingle Bells ) prefaces her lively version of Norwell's familiar refrain with a new verse that tells the story of two sisters who--like the Katie Casey of the original--are ``baseball mad.'' The story of Jenny and Joanna and their eccentric grandmother parallels the text of the original song as the threesome enjoys a high-powered game at the stadium. When the girls let go of their red balloon, Grandma in her red polka-dotted dress climbs out of the bleachers just in time to catch the winning baseball that (inexplicably) seems to have been hit on the third strike. Kovalski's characters and black outlined cartoons are filled with mirth and action but the awkwardly phrased new verse and the contrived illustrations, which often have little to do with the lyrics, make this a less satisfying songbook than her earlier efforts. Though Kovalski's rendition evinces considerable kid appeal, it nevertheless suffers to some extent by comparison with Alec Gillman's recent more exuberant and inventive version of the classic tune. Ages 5-8. (Apr. )