Reviews for Baseball Hour

Booklist Reviews 2008 April #1
This visually impressive picture book follows a multicultural group of boys and girls through their team's baseball practice. They do warm-up exercises; practice throwing, batting, fielding, pitching, and catching; play a game; and end with their hands together, forming "a wheel of friends." The last page shows them happily holding trophies, an odd conclusion to a practice session. The rhyming, rhythmic text works well enough, but as in Nevius and Thomson's Karate Hour (2004), the photorealistic artwork, which a note describes as "rendered in mixed media," steals the show. Technically impressive, the black, white, and sepia illustrations capture form, details, action, and gesture well, though there's an element of idealism underlying the vision that makes the banter and informality of a kid's baseball practice seem out of place here. Still, an eye-catching picture book for nonfiction collections. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Library Media Connection Reviews 2008 October
In this book from the author/illustrator team behind Karate Hour (Marshall Cavendish Children?s Books, 2004) members of a co-ed Little League baseball team take to the field for an hour of practice. Carol Nevius? rhyming couplets capture the physical action while showing the results that come from practice. Bill Thomson?s use of line, varied perspective, and texture creates a vividly realistic setting that is full of action. Each two-page spread provides a different view, most often placing the reader at ball level. Gripping portrayals of players? faces show the emotion and effort of the game from the alertness of the catcher when a ball hits his creased mitt to the concentration and determination of a girl as she prepares to swing her pock-marked bat for a hit. The sepia- toned illustrations create a nostalgic tone contrasted by bright white baseballs with red stitching. The baseball shown here exemplifies some of the great aspects of the game when played in a Little League setting?a diverse co-ed roster, the value of practice, and the camaraderie of a team sport. This is a well-crafted tribute to the hard work and fun of playing America?s pastime. Recommended. Ernie J. Cox, Media Specialist, St. Timothy?s School (K-8), Raleigh, North Carolina ¬ 2006 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 June

K-Gr 2-- As in Karate Hour (2004) and Building with Dad (2006, both Marshall Cavendish), the minutia of a specific period in time is brought to eye-popping life. Nevius's rhyming text chronicles a baseball practice session. The warm-up and drills are overpowered by Thomson's unbelievably photorealistic illustrations. While the story is of a team's effort to come together, the up-close, sometimes off-kilter images serve to capture specific moments for the participants, as if the artist took a camera and shot off one snapshot after another. The action is implied by the amazing detail, such as the stretch of a wrinkled pant leg as a runner reaches out to tag a base, or the determined purse of a young batter's lips as he swings his bat. Moments are truly frozen in this book. The effect is an odd combination of sterility and drama. Readers will not learn anything new about baseball in terms of rules, history, or technique, but they will see young athletes who are squeezing every second out of their baseball hour.--Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA

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