Warm up and get in training for a full season of baseball poems.
Each verse focuses on one element of the game, from the baseball itself to the position players and hitters. Even the umpire has his moment. The 15 verses vary in length from eight to 16 lines, and all have strong rhythms that beg to be read with a bouncing lilt. Florian also plays with shapes and patterns of words, spacing "stretch" so it appears to do just that, and placing "leaps," "climbs" and "plummets" in their appropriate orientations. He creates some delightful phrases in "Pitcher," who is “the starter of slumps,” and “the strikeout collector.” But he also misses the mark with several rhymes and images that seem forced and clumsy. There’s little new or surprising here, but the poems generally capture the joy of boys and girls playing just for the love of the game. The introductory poems that begin the season share a page opening, while each subsequent poem has its own double-page spread with an exaggerated, elongated figure on the greens and sands of a baseball field. Rendered in a mix of gouache watercolors, oil pastels, colored pencils and pine tar (how apt!) on primed paper bags, the illustrations appear textured and touchable, with a childlike quality.
A lighthearted reminder of why we love the game. (Picture book/ poetry. 6-9)