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.

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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