Reviews for Brothers at Bat : The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team

Booklist Reviews 2012 April #2
*Starred Review* In a 1930s New Jersey town, one family liked baseball so much that they made their own team. It wasn't that difficult. The Acerras had 16 children--12 of them boys. For 22 years straight, an Acerra played baseball in the local high school. In 1938, the oldest nine formed their own semipro team. With an age range of more than 20 years among the boys, there was always another Acerra coming up. Vernick, who interviewed the surviving members of the family, incorporates their remembrances into this very special exhibition of family loyalty and love of sports. The narrative takes them through their time on the field, the dissolution of the team when six of the guys went off to WWII (and all came home safely), and a team resurgence after the war. With plenty of highs (winning seasons) and a couple of lows (one brother lost an eye when a bunt went bad), the story rolls along easily. Best of all, though, is Salerno's fantastic art. Using a retro style that combines the look of 1950s TV advertising (think Speedy Alka Seltzer) and the exuberance of comic-book art, Salerno's pictures brim with vitality. The author's and illustrator's endnotes provide interesting context for this story of brotherly--and baseball--love. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
The Acerras of Long Branch, New Jersey, had twelve boys and four girls. In 1938, the oldest nine boys created their own semi-pro team, which played together longer than any of the era's other (nearly thirty!) teams made up entirely of brothers. The illustrations bring the story to vivid life, while the beautifully designed pages capture the feel of this slice of American history.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #2
Surprisingly, from the 1860s to the 1940s, there were at least twenty-nine baseball teams made up of brothers Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 February #1
At a time when local baseball was part of the American landscape, one family fielded its own team. The Acerra family numbered 16 children, 12 of whom were brothers who all loved to play baseball. The boys played in high school and later formed their own semi-pro team. They played wherever they could get a good game and were known as highly skilled players and crowd pleasers. They shared a special closeness and loyalty, joking and teasing, but always looking out for one another. That loyalty extended to a love of country as six of them fought in World War II, which was the first time they had been separated. After the war they continued to play in local leagues, with younger brothers taking over when big brothers aged out. In 1997 they were recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame as the all-time longest playing all-brother team. Employing descriptive, conversational language in a matter-of-fact tone that doesn't sentimentalize, Vernick tells of a remarkable family, part of what has come to be known as "the greatest generation." Salerno's lively drawings, rendered in black crayon, gouache, watercolor and pastel with digital color added, complement the action, striking a balance between detail and expansiveness. A family's love and devotion to each other and to the game of baseball, depicted lovingly. (author's note; artist's note) (Picture book/biography. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 February #1

"It sounds like a fairy tale: twelve baseball-playing brothers," but it's true. The 12 Acerra brothers from New Jersey played together on a semipro team formed in 1938, each brother with his own talents and style: "Charlie.... was a good player, but a terrible runner." Vernick, who interviewed two of the brothers as part of her research, describes how one brother lost an eye when he was struck by a baseball and how six of the brothers served in WWII. Painted in a bright palette of greens, yellows, and blues, Salerno's mixed-media illustrations, traced and shaded in black crayon, are an immediate attention-getter, the thick, horizontal brushwork contributing to a strong sense of movement. A lively story about family loyalty and love of the game, pulled from the sidelines of baseball history. Ages 4-8. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 April

K-Gr 3--Here's a fun and true story to start out the baseball season. Vernick relates the history of the Acerra family's 16 children, consisting of 12 boys who formed their own semiprofessional baseball team in Long Branch, NJ, during the 1930s. Their dad was their coach and biggest fan. The team is honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame for being the all-time longest-playing all-brother team in baseball history. The author exhibits good humor by pointing out individual boys' distinguishing characteristics such as Charlie, the slow runner who "hit a ball nearly out of the park, but only made it to second." There is a retro feel to Salerno's illustrations done in black crayon, gouache, watercolor, and pastel, with digital color added. Shades of green, blue, and turquoise augment the outdoor scenes. Readers will laugh out loud as they spot one brother out the bedroom window at night running with toilet paper in hand to their three-seater outhouse. This story sends out positive vibes of a family who sticks together, yet couples the tale with sorrowful times as well. A delight not to miss.--Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA

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