Little Baseballby Brad Herzog, Doug Bowles
Now even the smallest of fans can enjoy a book about their favorite sport. Rhyming riddles accompanied by colorful artwork help introduce the game's simplest, most basic elements.
It's puzzling to see riddling stumpers about America's favorite (arguably) pastime pitched in a format associated with the youngest listeners.
Trite riddles plod through baseball's equipment and players with a canned enthusiasm presented in each of 10 uninspired rhymes. Answers include the obvious (baseball, baseball glove) and even stretch to encompass concession-stand fare (hot dog). Any potential fun loses its oomph when the moral message strikes out: "When you play the game / and wait your turn / you sit on this / to watch and learn." Simple backgrounds reveal part of the item in question and support the large, centered faux-handwritten type. Who is this book's audience? Toddlers will gravitate to the sturdy pages but are unlikely to shout out the responses requested (including yelling "umpire" to describe the "man in blue"). Independent readers will struggle to stay with this condescending selection, no matter what the text otherwise suggests. "Yea, yea, yea!" yells the crowd. / You've read this little book out loud. / Now grab your bat and a ball; / baseball is a thrill for all!"
Definitely no home run here. (Board book. 2-4)
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