This wordless picture book tells the story of a quiet boy working to overcome his shyness and finding the courage to play baseball with the other kids in the park... With the help of a few old timers from the nearby park bench, our boy is coaxed out of his shell and into the game. Beautifully illustrated, this is the story about the young finding out how much fun it is to live life... And the old finding out how much life there still is to love.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers|
|Product dimensions:||9.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)|
|Age Range:||4 - 8 Years|
About the Author
Jeff Newman grew up in Ashland, Massachusetts, and attended The Art Institute of Boston. His picture books include Hippo! No, Rhino; The Boys; Hand Book; The Greedy Worm; and Found. He currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The only words in the book are the days of the week, which means it's up to the illustrations to carry the story of a glum new kid in town who wants to play baseball but must first make friends. The boys of the title are a bunch of retirees at the park. They recognize the problem immediately; the unnamed main character is not as perceptive. It takes several attempts by the old guys to get the boy to be a kid. Not sure how many kids will be able to puzzle out what's happening here themselves.
On Monday the new kid moves to town. On Tuesday he sets out to the park with his bat and ball to mingle with the kids of his new neighborhood but can't bring himself to join in. He shuffles over to a park bench full of a quartet of old men who don't quite understand what's up with the kid. On Wednesday the kid goes back to the park to feed the pigeons on the bench with the old boys who feel a little awkward that the kid has adopted them as his social group. Then on Thursday the kid arrives wearing obnoxious plaid retiree pants and his hair slicked back and the old boys realize it's time to get this kid back on track. Suddenly the kid is the grumpy old man on the bench yelling at the obnoxious old guys who are chasing the pigeons away on their bikes and making a ruckus at the playground. In the end it is a game of baseball that integrates the kid with his peers and gives the old men someplace else to sit than the park bench.That all of this is done without words is a good part of its charm. The mood on these pages is easily readable at a glance, very much character driven and clearly understandable. This ability to portray emotions and tell stories with simple illustrations is key for younger readers to understand how to "read" pictures. This is a key value in wordless picture books because being able to decode the language of illustrations and illustrated stories is as necessary as sight reading. It also happens to be the element I find lacking in a lot of graphic novels put out by publishers of children's books, but that's a rant for another day. Newman's style of watercolor - the broad brush strokes that suggest more than they define, the bold swaths of muted color - would almost fit in with the style of the independent cartoons produced by the UPA in the 40s and 50s; cartoons like Gerald McBoing Boing. Almost, not quite. I think there are times Newman's brush is a little too large in the scene and distracting from the more controlled character work, but it isn't a deal killer.