A young New York Yankees fan gets some unexpected help in his quest for an autograph from his favorite (ex) player.
Separated from his biracial (black/white) family in the hubbub following “the awesomest game ever!” Gideon finds himself deep in the bowels of Yankee Stadium—where, to his amazement, bats, balls, bases, rakes, buckets, and food items from cotton candy to sushi (“Sushi? At a baseball game?” “We always get a raw deal,” the smiling maki rolls explain) have all come to boisterous, chattery life. Ultimately Gideon finds his lost autograph book in the stadium’s Monument Park—in the hands of his (likewise biracial) hero Derek Jeter, who signs the cover and vanishes just as Gideon’s misplaced parents catch up. Bildner supplies an appropriately frisky narrative: “ ‘Of course we talk!’ the balls said bouncily. ‘We all talk!’ the bats added woodenly.” Booth lends the stadium’s shadowy back halls a convincing sense of dissociation from reality by cutting them into M.C. Escher–style zigzags. Otherwise he goes for a less subtle look in the illustrations by putting faces and, often, stick limbs on the baseball gear, giving Gideon histrionically excited postures and expressions throughout, and rendering Jeter (and Babe Ruth, who rears up from his plaque for a cameo) with numinous presence.
A direct riff on Night at the Museum. Also, by now younger readers will barely remember Jeter as a player, so the lionization may need some explanation. (Picture book. 6-8)