cover image The Bambino and Me

The Bambino and Me

Zachary Hyman, illus. by Zachary Pullen. Tundra, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-77049-627-9

In Hyman's inventive baseball fairy tale, it's 1927 and a diehard Yankees fan named George is finally attending his first baseball game%E2%80%94and a New York%E2%80%93Boston game, no less. There's only one catch: Ma insists he wears a Red Sox uniform given to him by a misguided relative. Feeling like %E2%80%9Cthe biggest traitor in the world," George ends up having a heart-to-heart with the Bambino himself, and comes away with an autographed baseball card, the Babe's own jersey, and a life lesson to boot. Pullen, who worked with Hyman on Hockey Hero, skirts sentiment and nostalgia with vibrant, larger-than-life oils; in this fairy tale, the pixie dust is New York exceptionalism. But the real draw may be actor Jason Alexander's exuberantly avuncular and occasionally Seinfeldian performance on an accompanying CD. Punctuated with period music, sound effects, and some fine characterizations, Alexander transports readers to a time when the %E2%80%9Cimportant stuff" in a kid's pocket was %E2%80%9Ca bunch of marbles, a couple of jacks, and some bottle caps," and Babe Ruth could be earnestly described as %E2%80%9Cmore famous than Tarzan. He was every kid's hero!" Ages 6%E2%80%939. (Apr.)