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BATS AT THE BALLGAME by Brian Lies Kirkus Star


by Brian Lies & illustrated by Brian Lies

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-547-24970-4
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Previously Lies has given his bats nights at the library and the beach with great success. Now they play night baseball on a ballfield laid out under a circus tent with crowds of bat fans and vendors selling appropriate snacks like “mothdogs.” The game proceeds with swoops and slides and a win for the home team. The action is described in verse with the rhymes in easy, breezy aabb form for setup and denouement and heightened "Casey at the Bat" cadences and couplets for the game itself. Lies’s acrylic illustrations appear as full- and double-page spreads and scattered, unframed vignettes, and all are filled with copious detail depicting uniforms, regalia and play-by-play. The visual effect is quite stunning, with some fantastically disorienting upside-down spreads to reflect the fans' hanging position, and much of the language is utterly delicious. A broad knowledge of baseball and its place in the American consciousness is assumed, as is an ability to roll with rather sophisticated vocabulary and phrasing. But as a read-aloud by a baseball fan, it’s sure to inspire a love of the game—and maybe of bats as well. (Picture book. 5-8)