cover image Play Ball!

Play Ball!

Jorge Posada, with Robert Burleigh, illus. by Raúl Colón. . S&S/Wiseman, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-0687-2

This fragmented account of New York Yankees catcher Posada's early ball-playing in his native Puerto Rico opens as the boy struggles to learn to bat left-handed in order to fulfill his father's wish that he become a switch-hitter. "Good isn't best ," insists Jorge's father after his discouraged son asserts that he is already good at batting right-handed. A series of abrupt transitions show the lad playing ball with his pals, practicing batting left-handed on his own and then again with the coach of his team. The scene suddenly shifts to New York, where the Posada family attends a game at Yankee Stadium and Jorge vows, "Some day I'm going to play here." A turn of the page reveals the boy back home, playing in a game against his team's archrivals (coached by his father), where his attempts at batting lefty fail miserably—until he hits a game-winning double in the ninth inning. Though the story offers insight into Posada's childhood baseball experiences and testifies to the rewards of perseverance, the disjointed narrative may confuse youngsters. Colón's (José! Born to Dance ) textured paintings, rendered in watercolors, colored pencils and litho pencils, on the other hand, capably convey the action on-the-field as well as close-up portraits that depict Jorge's frustration, determination and concentration. Ages 6-10. (Mar.)