of the Center for
|The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based list of titles available only on-line. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.|
Play Ball! A Baseball Dozen
selected by Elizabeth Bush
Not everyone will head off to the ballpark this summer. Family vacation, sun sensitivity, peanut allergies, a thin wallet, or even a local team that's not worth the price of admission may keep kids from passing through the turnstile. For fans who cheer from cozy armchairs rather than rock-hard bleachers we offer a line-up that conjures the sweat and dust of the diamond--and a rationale for pursuing the game at the library rather than the stadium.
--Elizabeth Bush, Reviewer
- Adler, David. Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man; illus. by Terry Widener. Gulliver/Harcourt, 1997. Gr. 3-5.
Heart-breaking and uplifting, this picture book biography captures the Yankees' Iron Horse at both the peak of his game and the height of his courage. (BCCB 4/97)
- Anderson, Joan. Batboy: An Inside Look at Spring Training; illlus. with photographs by Matthew Cavanaugh. Lodestar, 1996. Gr. 3-5
Kids who wonder what it's like to rub shoulders with the greats--and get paid a little for it--will enjoy this photo essay of thirteen-year-old Kenny Garibaldi's behind-the-scenes job at the San Francisco Giants training camp. (BCCB 3/96)
- Brooks, Bruce. Throwing Smoke. Geringer/HarperCollins, 2000. Gr. 4-8
In this witty fantasy, a team eerily reminiscent of the Peanuts gang beefs up their roster with a quartet of star players who turn up, quite literally, out of thin air. (Review forthcoming)
- Burleigh, Robert. Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth; illus. by Mike Wimmer. Silver Whistle/Harcourt, 1998. Gr. 2-5
Poetic text, baseball card styled data, and, well, burly photorealistic paintings introduce the giant who brought artistry to the brute skill of home run. (BCCB 9/98)
- Cline-Ransome, Lesa. Satchel Paige; illus. by James Ransome. Simon, 2000. Gr. 2-4.
The mighty pitcher who made the crossover from Negro League to major league ball is celebrated in action spreads and a text that focuses on "the circumstances that shaped him, the showmanship that psyched him, and the right arm that made him a legend." (BCCB 2/00)
- Carter, Alden. Bull Catcher. Scholastic, 1997. Gr. 6-9
This coming of age tale traces a senior's acceptance that his glory days on the field won't stretch past high school, even as his friend reaches for the next level of collegiate play. (BCCB 3/97)
- Cooper, Elisha. Ballpark; written and illus. by Elisha Cooper. Greenwillow, 1998. 5-8 yrs.
Behind-the-scenes and on-field activities get Cooper's signature smudge and squiggle treatment, awakening readers not only to the sounds, smells, and labors of the game, but also to the design components of the field itself. (BCCB 3/98)
- Deuker, Carl. Painting the Black. Houghton, 1997. Gr. 7-10.
This bravura novel examines a gifted high school player's moral demise as his team's many win-at-all-costs supporters--from teamates to administrators--wink at his every flaw, misdemeanor, and crime. (BCCB 6/97)
- Johnson, Scott. Safe at Second. Philomel, 1999. Gr. 6-10
Teammates Paulie and Todd must reconsider their respective futures in baseball after a freak accident leaves Todd sightless in one eye, and Paulie struggling for direction. (BCCB 7/99)
- Macy, Sue. A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Holt, 1993. Gr. 5-9
The intrepid women who were baseball during the war years of the 1940's claim their moment in the spotlight in this balanced presentation of the history and play action. (BCCB 5/93)
- Ritter, John. Choosing Up Sides. Philomel, 1998. Gr. 5-9.
This elegantly crafted historical novel portrays a gifted young pitcher's quiet and courageous defiance of his minister father's strictures against the game. (BCCB 6/98)
- Ritter, Lawrence S. Leagues Apart: The Men and Times of the Negro Baseball Leagues; illus. by Richard Merkin. Morrow, 1995. 6-9 yrs.
Brief picturebook biographies rendered in brisk baseball card hype introduce these neglected stars to younger baseball enthusiasts. (BCCB 3/95)
- Wolff, Virginia Euwer. Bat 6. Scholastic, 1998. Gr. 5-9
The proud girls softball rivalry between two small communities is sullied by anti-Japanese sentiment in this gripping post World War II novel, told through the testimonies of the players. (BCCB 6/98)
Ten Reasons Why Baseball Fiction Is Better Than the Real Thing
- You can always get tickets for the most hotly contested games.
- You can always keep your eye on the ball, no matter where you're sitting or how fast the action is.
- You can sneak a look at a rules book when you don't understand a play or call.
- You don't need to rely on a smart-aleck-nine-year-old to tell you who the players are.
- Beer is cheaper, and it's always the brand you like.
- You never have to wait in line for the bathroom.
- None of the players is overpaid.
- Players don't go on strike.
- Your team almost always makes the play-offs, or at least has a winning season.
- If your team doesn't win the play-offs, its members always learn some important life lessons and come away from the game better human beings.
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This page was last updated on April 1, 2000.