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THE BOYS by Jeff Newman Kirkus Star

THE BOYS

By Jeff Newman (Author) , Jeff Newman (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4169-5012-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

It's a new town for a baseball-loving protagonist. Newman wastes not a moment, setting the stage with the title page: A lone moving truck chugs along a house-lined street, skyscrapers looming above. A white spread possessing only one word, “Tuesday,” greets readers, with single brush strokes and blocks of color denoting a glove, a ball, a bat and a solitary boy lacing up his shoes. But the anticipated game is not to be, as the shy hero watches the sport longingly from afar. Crestfallen, he sits by a set of elderly men, and baseball dreams are traded for books, then costumes, as the child determinedly tries to stay on the bench of retirees—until the old-timers’ ball game reawakens the boy’s confidence. Effective visual storytelling realizes the aching love players can feel for the game, and in one lovely, lonely beat, the boy’s self-imposed rejection turns to resolve, as the tyke asks to join in a kids’ game. Through confident brushwork, done in a stylized ’50s modern aesthetic, the artist’s images reveal sports’ deep truths about acceptance, a willingness to try and the intergenerational connections they bring. (Picture book. 4-8)