A young boy is thrilled to attend his first day of baseball practice in this colorful children’s book.
Nick’s mom has just signed him up to play America’s pastime, and Nick couldn’t be more excited. In fact, he can barely wait for the first practice on Friday. His dad buys him a mitt and fits and molds it to Nick’s hand, and as the boy practices throwing by tossing crackers to his dog, Yogi, he’s consumed by thoughts of the game. When Friday finally arrives, all of Nick’s friends are on the field waiting for practice to start. Each player receives a new uniform, complete with a hat and their very own special number. (Most of the players can’t remember their numbers, though.) Coach explains the warm-up exercises that the team will do, such as jumping jacks and toe touches. He promises that they’ll start playing real baseball during the next practice, and then he sends each player home with a new baseball card. Christofora (The Hometown All Stars’ Magic Bat Day, 2013, etc.) is a Little League coach in real life, so he knows a thing or two about shaping young minds to play ball. This book is a great place for potential Joe DiMaggios to start. It would be a wonderful read for a child who, like Nick, is just about to begin playing baseball as it explains how practices are run, from donning uniforms to stretching to carousing with a team. In addition to portraying the sport as an exciting way to spend an afternoon, Christofora also focuses on the camaraderie and support that comes with being in a group. Team building is an important skill in baseball and in life, and this fact shines through in this work. The friendly cartoon baseballs in the corners of some pages are lovely additions, as well; they offer fun questions, riddles, tips, and explanations that will keep both young and old readers engaged with the story. There’s even a section at the end for children to write down their answers to questions, lest they forget. Tangeman’s illustrations, meanwhile, are splashy and vibrant, piquing readers’ interest and making the story feel even more alive.
A fun-loving, age-appropriate look at America’s favorite pastime.