Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team

( 2 )

Overview

The Acerra family had sixteen children, including twelve ball-playing boys. It was the
1930s, and many families had lots of kids. But only one had enough to field a baseball
team . . . with three on the bench! The Acerras were the longest-playing all-brother
team in ...

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Overview

The Acerra family had sixteen children, including twelve ball-playing boys. It was the
1930s, and many families had lots of kids. But only one had enough to field a baseball
team . . . with three on the bench! The Acerras were the longest-playing all-brother
team in baseball history. They loved the game, but more important, they cared for
and supported each other and stayed together as a team. Nothing life threw their way
could stop them.

Full of action, drama, and excitement, this never-before-told true story is vividly
brought to life by Audrey Vernick’s expert storytelling and Steven Salerno’s stunning
vintage-style art.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“It sounds like a fairy tale: twelve baseball-playing brothers,” but it’s true. The 12 Acerra brothers from New Jersey played together on a semipro team formed in 1938, each brother with his own talents and style: “Charlie.... was a good player, but a terrible runner.” Vernick, who interviewed two of the brothers as part of her research, describes how one brother lost an eye when he was struck by a baseball and how six of the brothers served in WWII. Painted in a bright palette of greens, yellows, and blues, Salerno’s mixed-media illustrations, traced and shaded in black crayon, are an immediate attention-getter, the thick, horizontal brushwork contributing to a strong sense of movement. A lively story about family loyalty and love of the game, pulled from the sidelines of baseball history. Ages 4–8. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"I was lucky to play in the big leagues with my brother as a teammate and my dad as our manager. It was a very special time. The story of the Acerra brothers brought those memories back. It is a wonderful illustration of what a great game baseball is and how it brings families together on many different levels. Brothers at Bat is a story any baseball fan will enjoy and one that we all should know ."—Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.

"A captivating story, impeccable layout, and glorious illustrations make this historical account an unqualified winner." New York Times Book Review

"With a sense of humor, Audrey Vernick tells the true-life story of the 12 Acerra boys of Long Branch, NJ, who formed a team coached by their dad."—USA Today

"A remarkable story."—Wall Street Journal

"A lively story about family loyalty and love of the game, pulled from the sidelines of baseball history."—Publishers Weekly, *starred review*

"A delight not to miss."—School Library Journal, *starred review*

"[A] story of brotherly—and baseball—love." --Booklist, *starred review*

"Vernick's wry and rousing narration is perfectly matched by Salerno's mixed-media pictures."The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, *starred review*

"Employing descriptive, conversational language in a matter-of-fact tone that doesn’t sentimentalize, Vernick tells of a remarkable family . . . Salerno’s lively drawings, rendered in black crayon, gouache, watercolor and pastel with digital color added, complement the action, striking a balance between detail and expansiveness.A family's love and devotion to each other and to the game of baseball, depicted lovingly."Kirkus Reviews

"This story of a real American family whose bond was the game is brought to vivid life through illustrations." Horn Book Magazine

"For those who love baseball, history and family stories, this book hits a home run."—Shelf Awareness, *starred review*

"Striking black crayon, gouache and watercolor paintings enhanced with digital color provide a solid backup to the tightly written narrative. A very pleasing slice of American history." —Cleveland Plain Dealer

A NewYork Times Notable Book for 2012

A 2012 Booklist Editor's Choice

School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Here's a fun and true story to start out the baseball season. Vernick relates the history of the Acerra family's 16 children, consisting of 12 boys who formed their own semiprofessional baseball team in Long Branch, NJ, during the 1930s. Their dad was their coach and biggest fan. The team is honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame for being the all-time longest-playing all-brother team in baseball history. The author exhibits good humor by pointing out individual boys' distinguishing characteristics such as Charlie, the slow runner who "hit a ball nearly out of the park, but only made it to second." There is a retro feel to Salerno's illustrations done in black crayon, gouache, watercolor, and pastel, with digital color added. Shades of green, blue, and turquoise augment the outdoor scenes. Readers will laugh out loud as they spot one brother out the bedroom window at night running with toilet paper in hand to their three-seater outhouse. This story sends out positive vibes of a family who sticks together, yet couples the tale with sorrowful times as well. A delight not to miss.—Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
Kirkus Reviews
At a time when local baseball was part of the American landscape, one family fielded its own team. The Acerra family numbered 16 children, 12 of whom were brothers who all loved to play baseball. The boys played in high school and later formed their own semi-pro team. They played wherever they could get a good game and were known as highly skilled players and crowd pleasers. They shared a special closeness and loyalty, joking and teasing, but always looking out for one another. That loyalty extended to a love of country as six of them fought in World War II, which was the first time they had been separated. After the war they continued to play in local leagues, with younger brothers taking over when big brothers aged out. In 1997 they were recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame as the all-time longest playing all-brother team. Employing descriptive, conversational language in a matter-of-fact tone that doesn't sentimentalize, Vernick tells of a remarkable family, part of what has come to be known as "the greatest generation." Salerno's lively drawings, rendered in black crayon, gouache, watercolor and pastel with digital color added, complement the action, striking a balance between detail and expansiveness. A family's love and devotion to each other and to the game of baseball, depicted lovingly. (author's note; artist's note) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)
Pamela Paul
A captivating story, impeccable layout and glorious illustration make this historical account an unqualified winner.
—The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547385570
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 98,745
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Audrey Vernick

Audrey Vernick is author of the picture book biography, Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team, as well several picture books and novels. She lives with her family near the ocean in New Jersey. Learn more about her at www.audreyvernick.com.

Steven Salerno has illustrated many popular picture books for children, including The Dirty Little Boy by Margaret Wise Brown, Bebe Goes Shopping, and Brothers at Bat, as well as his own Little Tumbo and Coco the Carrot. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, where he studied under famed author/illustrator Maurice Sendak, Steven's illustrations appear in magazines, advertising campaigns, product packaging, and retail interiors. He lives and works in New York City. www.stevensalerno.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

    12 stars, one for each brother

    This book is about a family baseball team. There were 16 children in the Acerra family and the 12 boys all loved baseball (imagine if 1 didn't!). This book combines the story of their games with the story of a family that was very close and supportive. The father coached the boys and attended all their games. And the Baseball Hall of Fame honored them for being the longest playing all brother team. (In an author note I learned that there had been many others.)

    You have to read this one. No one could make up a story like this but that's probably just as well. It's the truth that makes this one so special.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 14, 2013

    I am delighted to see more and more picture book biographies bei

    I am delighted to see more and more picture book biographies being published. This makes it so much easier to share biographies with younger children. At the same time, picture book biographies have to be carefully done in order to provide enough information without going overboard. I mean how do you provide just enough information to help the reader get an idea of what the person was like, without getting bogged down in details? I firmly believe that it is an art form. Picture books are an art in and of themselves, but picture book biographies require an even more careful hand because the characters are real. Audrey Vernick does a fantastic job of this in Brothers at Bat.

    Vernick provides enough information to give the reader a taste of what the people are like, without losing her focus on a baseball team made up of only brothers. Sixteen children, twelve of whom were boys, I can only admire their parents. I appreciated the small touches that made the family seem so real, things like the slam, slam, slam of the door as the boys raced out to play. The sharing of beds, the individual portraits that show the familial similarity but also individual differences, all added to the story.

    The illustrations are gorgeous and appealing. I'm always amazed when illustrators can create faces from a few lines and shapes. Salerno does a great job of this.

    If you are looking for more great picture book biographies, I highly recommend this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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