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Baseball Is . . .
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Baseball Is . . .

by Louise Borden, Raul Colon (Illustrator)

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The ultimate celebration of an all-American sport, this picture book captures the joy and the history of baseball—and knocks it out of the park!

Don’t wait for Opening Day to start your baseball season! Crack open Baseball Is… and revel in the fun of this all-American game! Perfect for the stats-counting superfan and the brand-new little


The ultimate celebration of an all-American sport, this picture book captures the joy and the history of baseball—and knocks it out of the park!

Don’t wait for Opening Day to start your baseball season! Crack open Baseball Is… and revel in the fun of this all-American game! Perfect for the stats-counting superfan and the brand-new little leaguer, Baseball Is… captures the spirit of this cherished pastime, honoring its legendary past, and eagerly anticipating the future of the sport that is “stitched into our history.”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
More than a decade after America Is..., Borden returns with a rosy tribute to the national pastime, this time accompanied by Colón, whose pencil illustrations virtually glow with sunset golds and the lime greens of the outfield. Most of Borden’s verse is dedicated to capturing the sounds, smells, and emotions of the game itself (“Baseball is the scamper of the bat boy/ and the distant shout in the stands:/ ‘Peanuts!’/ ‘Popcorn!’ ”). But the game’s history is also felt, both in inset images that, for instance, show the technology used by announcers past and present, and in detours that honor presidential connections to the game, a trio of players (Ruth, Robinson, and Clemente), and “the minor leagues/ and Little League,/ the talented and long ago Negro Leagues,/ the women’s league.” It’s a warm and passionate ode to the game, whether it’s being played in stadiums or backyards. Ages 7–10. Illustrator’s agent: Morgan Gaynin Inc. (Feb.)
"Verse rises well above the quotidian with a genuine flash of poetic power hitting...Colón highlights players, sportscasters, teams, and stadiums from across the country and over time, inviting young fans to search for their favorites and vie with their peers for the title of baseball cognoscente....it may just help some kids keep their spirits up until opening day."
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Borden has penned a beautiful ode to baseball, capturing its sights, sounds, smells, history, stats, and more. Her unabashed enthusiasm for the game is contagious—even for those who do not count baseball as their favorite sport will be pulled in. She clearly recognizes that there is more to America’s national pastime than players, a ball, and a field. It is the ballparks and the fans, the pitches and the plays, the myths and the facts, the snacks and souvenirs, the cheers, jeers, and songs. She gives a slight nod to the history of baseball, the Negro and women’s leagues, Little League, and “those thousands of other leagues and teams” that are part of baseball! Colón’s colored pencil drawings capture the essence of being at a ballpark, whether playing, watching, selling, singing, or mixing in the crowd. He pictures various players through the years, as well as stadiums throughout the country. Inserts help convey the many aspects of the game’s history over the years, from technology to presidents. Readers will pore over the illustrations, trying to find their favorite player, stadium, or team. Borden’s free verse and Colón’s drawings combine for a sensual experience that will make any reader want to grab a hat, and maybe a glove, and head to the local field! Reviewer: Peg Glisson; Ages 7 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—This picture-book tribute salutes our national pastime, whose "stories are stitched through our nation's history." Borden enumerates the elements of the game, including ballparks and fans, plays and players, in crisp verses paired with Colón's textured and lively drawings: "Baseball is the fastball, the curveball, the knuckleball, the slider, the crack of the bat…." A fold-out page gives special attention to Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Roberto Clemente. The author also mentions the "long ago" Negro leagues and the women's league; and notes baseball's ability to bring diverse people together. Emphasis is placed on patriotic elements, such as the playing of the national anthem and the American flag flying above the stands "like a familiar friend." Throughout, Colón's expressive art, rendered in colored pencil and watercolors, enlivens the sometimes static, message-laden narrative. This is a beautiful, well-crafted, and oversize text that will be welcomed and embraced by fans of the game.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-01-22
Baseball is more than a sport; in Borden's unabashed celebration, it embodies the essence of the social, historic and emotional fabric of our nation. Baseball has played a part in wars, social upheaval, urban and suburban development, immigration demographics, business conglomerates and investment swindles. It is also myth and mystery and the stuff of the American dream. People who love the game feel it in every sense, and to them, the minutiae are as elemental as the heroes, the great plays and the spectacle. Borden attempts to capture all of it in a lovely evocation of everything that is conjured up when a devoted fan hears the words "baseball is...." She employs deceptively simple language and the briefest of phrases filled with instant imagery that mingles past and present, spectators and players. Readers see, hear, smell and taste every aspect of the game. Nothing is forgotten or minimalized. The ballparks, the souvenirs and the hot dogs are all here from the major leagues to Little League. Colón's exuberant colored-pencil illustrations are lovingly matched to the text and bring it to glorious life. The game is seen from every perspective on double-page spreads that incorporate vignettes in frames of every shape as well as a gatefold with the likes of Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente. Love of our national game shines in every word and picture. A grand slam. (Picture book. 7-10)

Product Details

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 12.00(h) x 0.50(d)
900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Louise Borden graduated from Denison University with a degree in history. She taught first graders and preschoolers and later was a part-owner of a bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to writing children’s books, she also speaks regularly to young students about the writing process. Her books include Good Luck, Mrs. K!, which won the Christopher Medal, and The A+ Custodian. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and you can visit her at LouiseBorden.com.

Raúl Colón has illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books, including Draw!; 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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