Reviews for Playing Right Field


Horn Book Guide Reviews 1995
The narrator remembers playing right field as a boy, a position that gave him time to daydream about his favorite baseball greats, though rarely any chance to emulate them. One day, however, a hit sends the ball into the sun right above his head. Welch's text conveys the sleepy cadence of summer daydreams, and Simont's watercolors balance nostalgia and reality, capturing their occasional magic fusion. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1995 February
~ Right field is the place the slowest and worst players are sent. It's a place for daydreaming about future home runs and great plays while the real game goes on in the distance. If a ball happens to be sent that way--watch out! The newly alert youngster in this book learns that there will be no more lolling in the grass for him. An awkward rhyme scheme relegates this book to the minor leagues; despite Simont's peppy illustrations, filled with childhood longing, it's too much like right field. There simply isn't much going on. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1995 April #3
The narrator of this perky rhyming tale recalls "Saturday summers, when I was a kid," when he and his buddies ran to the schoolyard and split into two baseball teams. The "strongest and fastest" get the infield positions, while the boy trots off to the same spot: "I never needed to ask. It was sealed./ I just took up my place in right field." There he lays on his back, daydreaming... until he suddenly realizes that something is happening ("I don't know the inning. I've forgotten the score./ The whole team is yelling and I don't know what for"). The big event, of course, is a fly ball heading right for him. Catching it handily, he becomes a hero for a minute, and then returns to watching the dandelions grow. Recorded as a song by Peter, Paul & Mary, this story is scant but endearing, bound to strike a chord with chronic outfielders of any age. The first-time children's author, however, falters occasionally with the rhythm ("Sometimes I'd dream I was Mathews or Mays/ hitting home runs and making great plays./ But they were so graceful, and they were so fast;/ they never batted last"). Caldecott Medalist Simont's (A Tree Is Nice) fetching charcoal-and-watercolor pictures lend the timeless, nostalgic quality the story warrants. Ages 3-7. (Apr.) Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1995 March
K-Gr 3?A regular, neighborhood, Saturday-afternoon baseball game is the backdrop for this poetic ``Field of Dreams'' offering. Welch's young hero is the last one picked when the opposing captains choose the day's teams and knows automatically to which position he'll be assigned. ``You can be awkward and you can be slow./That's why I'm here in right field/watching the dandelions grow.'' As he wiles away the time at this underactive post, he fantasizes about some of the baseball greats?Mays, Mathews?and loses track of the play-by-play. He is awakened from his reverie by his teammates' shouts, just in time to catch a deep fly ball. The youngster's confidence gets a needed boost and he comes to realize the importance of Playing Right Field. The catchy, easy-to-read narrative, first written as a children's song, has been magically transformed into a picture book by children's literature hall of famer Simont. His charcoal and watercolor artwork has never been more vibrant. The oversized double-page spreads buzz with energy as he captures the shadows, the body language, and the subtle nuances of everyone's favorite game. One can almost feel the dandelions growing.?Luann Toth, School Library Journal

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