Ryder's grandmother is simply bats about baseball. Cap-wearing Nana's obsession sets the scene for this lighthearted if repetitious tale about Ryder's futile attempt to engage his grandmother in a conversation about his future career while the TV is tuned into a game. His grandmother's responses are not to him but to the players on the tube, as she transforms Ryder's remarks into an enthusiastic commentary on the game (e.g., as the boy speculates on becoming an astronaut, Nana shouts at the screen: "By Jupiter!... Casey just launched a moon shot right into the Sky Deck"). Though this scenario allows for some clever wordplay, the tale's single focus grows tiresome, and some of the baseball allusions will be lost on youngsters. Nonetheless, enough of Little's (Jess Was the Brave One) and Mackay's (The Minerva Program) humor hits its mark; LaFave's (The Mare's Egg) funky art, meanwhile, adds to the book's charm. Though it lacks (to borrow one of Nana's expressions) "perfect pitch," this volume certainly doesn't strike out. Ages 3-8. (May)
K-Gr 3-Ryder's grandmother is ``bats about baseball.'' On his birthday she gives him baseball presents. Once the season starts, she sits glued to the TV. Talking with her is very difficult but Ryder keeps trying. To his speculations about what he might be when he grows up, she responds to every possibility with baseball lingo directed at the TV. ``I could be a mathematician when I grow up.'' ``This guy's O for 19. Strike three'' yells Nana. The scratchy pen, ink, and wash cartoons have a zany humor. Observant children will chuckle when Ryder, musing about being a chicken farmer, sees himself coming out of the hen house with baskets of baseballs instead of eggs. The wordplay is mildly amusing, but it goes on too long and the boy's tolerance at being ignored for so long strains credibility. A secondary purchase that's most likely to appeal to kids who are themselves ``bats about baseball.''-Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Little and Mackay bring baseball grandmothers out of the closet: "Ryder's grandmother was bats about baseball." During the season, it's hard to get Nana's attention for a conversation about anything else. Ryder thinks he has it when he starts discussing possible careers, but it will take older listeners only a few exchanges, however, to catch on that Nana is playing a game of verbal catch, answering Ryder's every question in baseball jargon. Should Ryder be a diver? "What a great sinker!" Nana replies. Younger listeners may not catch on so fast, but older ones might enjoy trying to match Nana's verbal fastballs. LaFave's pictures of Ryder in all his career choices are as zippy as Nana's language, contrasting his fantasy worlds with Nana's very real TV-watching chair and snacks.