Play Ball!


Jorge loved the feel of the ball in his glove, the bat in his hand, and the game of baseball. Day and night he would play with his sister, his father, and his friends. At night he dreamed of baseball. When he and his mother visit New York and he sees Yankee Stadium for the first time, he knows there is only one way to get there: work hard and play ball.

Based on the childhood of New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, this is the story of a boy ...

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Jorge loved the feel of the ball in his glove, the bat in his hand, and the game of baseball. Day and night he would play with his sister, his father, and his friends. At night he dreamed of baseball. When he and his mother visit New York and he sees Yankee Stadium for the first time, he knows there is only one way to get there: work hard and play ball.

Based on the childhood of New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, this is the story of a boy from Puerto Rico who grew up to be a champion.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
With brightly colored two-page spreads, Play Ball! tells the story of New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and his childhood experiences in baseball.
Publishers Weekly
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. Colon's (Jose! 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.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This collaboration of author and athlete has produced the story of how Jorge Posada's acceptance of his father's advice resulted in his becoming a world champion baseball player. As a youngster Posada was interested in baseball and was developing as a strong right-handed batter. His father encouraged him to train himself to bat left-handed, thus becoming a switch-hitter. As he honed his skills, Jorge had a lot of support from his coach and family. Making the change to left-handed batting was hard and frustrating but he persevered and proved the value of his hard work to everyone by making a crucial hit during an important game. His family took him to Yankee Stadium on vacation and he announced that he would someday play on "this field"—and he did. Jorge Posada is the starting catcher for the New York Yankees, a four-time All-Star Game catcher, and four-time world champion. He has also founded the Jorge Posada Foundation, a group that provides support to families whose child is affected by craniosynostosis, a congenital or birth defect that causes an abnormally shaped skull. Born in Puerto Rico, he now lives in New York with his wife and children. Colon's illustrations are quite well suited for presenting this tribute to hard work and determination. This lovely book will serve as an inspiration for youngsters who want to perfect some skill of their own—baseball or otherwise—it demonstrates the power of perseverance and of listening to sound advice. 2006, Simon & Schuster, Ages 5 to 10.
—Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-This book is based on the childhood of the Yankee all-star catcher. Although young Jorge is a good ballplayer, his father warns him that to be the best he must learn to be a switch-hitter. Reluctantly, the boy takes up the challenge and practices with his father, friends, and coach as Casa Cuba's big game with its archrival team looms. Abruptly, Jorge and his family are visiting New York City. While watching a game at Yankee Stadium, the boy declares, "Some day I'm going to play here." On the following page, the action moves to the big game in Puerto Rico, where Jorge is having a miserable time at the plate. On his last at-bat, he drives home his teammates with a game-winning double. Colon's soft, impressionistic, watercolor-and-pencil illustrations fail to enliven or add interesting detail to this bland story. With its predictable and simplistic message of determination and hard work, it adds nothing fresh or memorable to the genre of children's sports stories.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Jorge lives and breathes baseball. During a trip to New York City, he visits Yankee Stadium and dreams of one day playing there. Although he is already a good right-handed hitter, Jorge's father teaches him to be a switch hitter to give him an extra edge, so he can be better than good. He finds it extremely difficult, but practices with great determination, and successfully uses his new skill to win a game for his team. Posada provides a glimpse of a supportive cast of family, friends and coaches who guide him on his way to a stellar career, though the story is oddly disorganized. Col-n's watercolor and colored pencil illustrations carefully follow the action and cast a soft golden glow over the proceedings. Young fans of baseball, especially of Posada and the New York Yankees, will gain insight into the making of a major leaguer, and maybe some inspiration as well. (Picture book. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416998259
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
  • Publication date: 2/23/2010
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 786,605
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jorge Posada is an all-star catcher for the New York Yankees, a position he has held since 2000. Laura Posada is an attorney, a certified personal trainer, and CEO of Laura Posada, LLC. The couple lives with their two children, Jorge Luis and Paulina, in Florida.

Robert Burleigh is the award-winning author of many books for children, including The Adventures of Mark Twain by Huckleberry Finn, illustrated by Barry Blitt; Night Flight, illustrated by Wendell Minor; and Black Whiteness, illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop. His many other books include Hoops; Stealing Home; and Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep! He lives in Michigan.

Raúl Colón has illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books, including the New York Times bestselling Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt, Susanna Reich’s José! Born to Dance, and Jill Biden’s Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Colón lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2008


    I think Jorge's book is great for kids. I found it enjoyable and feel it also teaches children that if you work hard you can acheive your goals. Jorge to me is a role model for kids who takes pride in his work and gives 100%.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2006

    Great book for kids

    I think this is a great book for kids - not only is it enjoyable - but it also teaches kids how to work hard for what they want and how to persevere. I consider Jorge a role model for kids and a fabulous ballplayer and I am proud that he is a member of the New York Yankee's. I think the book 'Play Ball' is another of Jorge's great contributions to kids.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2006

    Dumbo plays ball?

    Good grief - this gonna bore the heck out of kids. Jorge needs to get over himself - nobody cares about dumbo's little league days. If you want your kid to like baseball, don't let them read this book.

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