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RULES OF THE GAME by Marjorie Maddox


Baseball Poems

by Marjorie Maddox & illustrated by John Sandford

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59078-603-1
Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

A singularly unattractive, cramped design does nothing to help this collection of baseball-themed poems. From “Balk” to “Grand Slam,” 42 poems tackle seemingly every aspect of play, even including the defunct “Catch on Bound” rule that hasn’t pertained for eons. Some of the imagery is nicely apt: from “Home Run,” “Anything less is a slice. / Hungry, you want the whole pie. / With the ball out of sight past the wall, / you crave every last crumb of the run...” Internal rhymes and wordplay provide most of the energy that drives this particular engine, and at their best, they’re good fun. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of poems—often four to a spread, all rendered in the same tightly leaded lines of type in a 13-point font—overwhelms readers. Sandford’s pencil illustrations, some hyperrealistic, some more playful (a startled batter, Band-aid on his hand, jumps out of the path of a “Beanball”), are set on an unvaried pale-orange background; the relentless visual sameness of each spread combines with the mass of print on the page to strike this one out. (Picture book/poetry. 11-14)