A weedy kid in shorts and a T-shirt goes to the sandlot with a glove, hoping to play.
Sent to the outfield, the kid waits for a chance. The batter hits a long fly ball that sails that way. The protagonist runs, leaps, and stretches, yelling, “I got it!”—the only words in the book. But the kid trips over some roots, dives, and lands on the ground with the ball just out of reach, while team members cluster around, clutching their heads in disbelief. Wiesner is a master of fantastical wordless (or nearly so) adventures, and what seems to be a simple event becomes a series of might-have-beens and possibilities, playing out several times with different scenarios. A huge tree with protruding roots appears and stops the kid from getting to the ball; several teammates give chase, gloves outstretched, as the protagonist seems to be among them and then flying over them to finally grab the elusive ball: “I GOT IT!” This time it is the batter who’s thrown into despair, while the protagonist’s team cheers. And what about the birds? Are they just observers or are they somehow affecting the outcome? Sometimes the protagonist is small and the glove and ball are huge as perspective shifts. The scenes are softly painted, growing brighter and sharper after the catch. Readers will interpret it any way they wish, perhaps differently with each perusal. The protagonist has light olive skin and straight black hair, and the other players are racially and gender diverse.
Wonderfully imaginative and intriguing. (Picture book. 6-10)