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A Coach's Letter to His Son
     

A Coach's Letter to His Son

5.0 2
by Mel Allen, John Thompson (Illustrator)
 
Baseball is a game steeped in tradition, played from backyards to major league stadiums, and cheered by millions of fans. But at its most intimate and fundamental level, baseball is a game grounded in fathers and sons: in playing catch in the twilight hours after supper, in sons standing before old fences swinging at their father's pitches. Creative Editions is proud

Overview

Baseball is a game steeped in tradition, played from backyards to major league stadiums, and cheered by millions of fans. But at its most intimate and fundamental level, baseball is a game grounded in fathers and sons: in playing catch in the twilight hours after supper, in sons standing before old fences swinging at their father's pitches. Creative Editions is proud to present A Coach's Letter to His Son, a nostalgic tribute to the game.

The words of Mel Allen and sketches and photo-realistic paintings by John Thompson combine to convey a coach's story and regrets to his son, a baseball player not yet in his teens. Reflecting on his own baseball childhood, the importance of family, and the high-pressure atmosphere that surrounds youth sports at even the earliest levels of competition today, the narrator comes to reassess his priorities and rediscover the purity of baseball. In an age when "America's pastime" is increasingly defined by statistics, awards, and championships, A Coach's Letter to His Son is a powerful and touching reminder of the heart of the game.

Mel Allen has worked as an editor for Yankee Magazine for more than two decades and has taught writing at the University of Massachusetts since 2001. A lifelong fan of baseball, he still makes time to pitch balls to his son Daniel, now a college player. A Coach's Letter to His Son is his first picture book. He has two sons and lives in New Hampshire.

John Thompson played baseball in college before turning his focus to art. He has since worked as an illustrator for a diverse array of clients, including NASA, the US Air Force, and Sports Illustrated. He has alsoillustrated a number of acclaimed children's books, including Freedom Like Sunlight. He lives in New York and is a professor of art at Syracuse University.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
An ardent baseball fan, the author presents his own philosophy on the real essence of sports—"sports are too hard to play unless they are played with joy." The father of the story expresses how he began to watch baseball played in a local field, and how his own father would serve as catcher while he pretended to be various professional pitchers. When Dan was born the writer began to share his own joy of playing baseball with his young son. The boy was truly talented and his father saw to it that he went to batting and pitching clinics and received "lots of advice" from his father, the coach. Soon the father and son were honing every aspect of the boy's stance and swing. As the letter continues, the author demonstrates that the father becomes aware of all the pressures being heaped upon the young boy—"anything less than winning a state championship you will regard as failure. Twelve years old." Viewing early videos of the boy playing ball reveals to the father the unadulterated joy of the boy's first baseball experiences, and he compares this look of delight with the intense, taut face of the young man in the batting cage. The dad asks the boy if they can "start over" and "put away the instructional tapes and the clinics" and just go out "early in the day" and "find delight in putting all your strength and happiness into a swing." The reader will hope that the boy answers this appeal with a resounding "yes" and at the end of the day they "can hunt for the balls, two sunburned boys searching for treasure." The somewhat nostalgic (the pictures of the different eras definitely have a look of their own) illustrations set a perfect tone for the text and are sometimes set off asthree-quarter spreads with a quote from the story line itself (The Creative Company always produces beautiful books). While in the picture book format this book is dense with lyrical language, and wonderful similes and metaphors: "a game which once seemed as light as blowing bubbles," "the face of someone who is chewing food he does not enjoy, wanting to play so much it hurt," and "I'd float baseballs to you underhanded, and you'd sail them over my head." Even those not enamored with baseball will find this an insightful look at sharing a love of sports with a child. Youngsters will observe and better understand the underlying motivation for such parental actions—to help develop talents while sometimes forgetting the sheer "joy" of playing the game.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568461342
Publisher:
Creative Company, The
Publication date:
08/31/2006
Series:
Creative Editions Series
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
7.87(w) x 11.25(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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A Coach's Letter to His Son 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is a great tale of childhood baseball, yet it is deeper than most. Yes, it is about those warm, sunny days where children experience the euphoria of victory, but it is also about the relationships built around the game. Children learn about trust, integrity, and the thrill of success long before the words mean anything. Through sports, and specifically baseball, kids experience the most important things in life: fun, learning, and the acquisition of knowledge. It is a knowledge lost to their coaches, a knowledge of what exactly the meaning is behind the game, behind sports. It is a child's separation between fun and winning that allows the game to be pure. A Coach's Letter to His Son explores the joys of childhood and how parents and coaches have, sadly, drifted from the games purpose, that of fun and healthy activity, to the dark, sinister lure of pure competition for the sake of winning. This book made me realize again what our greatest pastime is truly about and that it is not too late to reverse the corruption that is now becoming far too common among parents and coaches. If you are a coach or a parent of one who plays baseball, or even sports in general, you owe it to yourself to read this book, and even more so to the kids.