There's a little baseball game known as the World Series happening as I type this, a game which is a very big deal around these parts because the Phillies are doing battle with the Yankees.
My loyalties are somewhat divided - as a Philly girl, rooting for the Phillies is practically in my DNA. However, three years ago, The Dean adopted the Yankees as his new team (after being disappointed one too many times by the Phils) and I must say, the New York boys have really grown on me.
There's no dilemma of who to cheer for in Baseball Hour, a beautiful picture book of a team's baseball practice (hence the title) that is a true winner for its simplistic prose. The story of a baseball team practicing their swings, hits, and throws is told in catchy rhyme.
What makes this book special are the illustrations. Gorgeous, sepia-toned drawings show a team of girls and boys of every ethnic background and races, a male coach and a female coach (or perhaps umpire). None of this is referred to in the text, but rather presented through the pictures almost as a given, as if this is what true teamwork looks like - all of us doing our part, working toward a common goal together.
Would that this was true off the diamond.
This book would certainly be a great one to read with a passionate baseball player (or an enthusiastic young fan) but its subtle lessons of teamwork and the importance of practice are ones that all would benefit from. It's listed as for ages 4-8, which seems appropriate.
Younger children can practice their reading skills (the words are simple and sentences not complex), while older children could be engaged in conversation starters like, "Wow, that's pretty cool that one of the moms is on the field. Do you think she is the coach or the umpire?" and discussion of how everyone can .... play ball!