Reviews for Boys

Booklist Reviews 2009 December #2
In this wordless picture book, a boy moves to a new neighborhood and goes to a park, hoping for a chance to join a baseball game. The young players don't notice him, so he settles on a bench with four geezers. The action follows the boy through each day of the week, as he tries to fit in with the old guys, eventually dressing in plaid pants, glasses, an old brown hat, and a bow tie. Sensing that things are heading in the wrong direction, the old guys change their ways by playing in the park and starting a baseball game that the boy joins, ultimately giving him the confidence to take part in the neighborhood kids' ball game. A series of retro-style pictures tell the story in a minimal palette of few colors with cartoon images set against a background of white space and some quick watercolor brushstrokes. Adults may find this more humorous than kids do, but it's good for some all-ages chuckles. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Too shy to join a baseball game, a boy slumps on a park bench. There he meets four old men who, after a week, convince him to act. Wordless but for day-of-the-week banners, the white-space-heavy scenes feature audacious color combinations that work--especially with the old-man attire, which, hilariously, the boy adopts. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 February #2
It's a new town for a baseball-loving protagonist. Newman wastes not a moment, setting the stage with the title page: A lone moving truck chugs along a house-lined street, skyscrapers looming above. A white spread possessing only one word, "Tuesday," greets readers, with single brush strokes and blocks of color denoting a glove, a ball, a bat and a solitary boy lacing up his shoes. But the anticipated game is not to be, as the shy hero watches the sport longingly from afar. Crestfallen, he sits by a set of elderly men, and baseball dreams are traded for books, then costumes, as the child determinedly tries to stay on the bench of retirees--until the old-timers' ball game reawakens the boy's confidence. Effective visual storytelling realizes the aching love players can feel for the game, and in one lovely, lonely beat, the boy's self-imposed rejection turns to resolve, as the tyke asks to join in a kids' game. Through confident brushwork, done in a stylized '50s modern aesthetic, the artist's images reveal sports' deep truths about acceptance, a willingness to try and the intergenerational connections they bring. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 January #2

Newman's story opens with a picture of a moving van and one piece of information: Tuesday. That day, a blond boy stares out at a city park where kids play baseball and four elderly men share a bench. Drooping his head and dragging a bat, the boy approaches the bench and plops down. Wednesday, the boy leaves his sports gear behind and feeds the pigeons. The old men shrug. Thursday, the boy wears retiree-style plaid pants. The men eye each other. That weekend, the boy arrives to an empty bench: his pals are on the playground, showing him, to hilarious effect, how the business of being a kid is conducted--namely riding bikes and playing on the jungle gym. A game of baseball with the men finally gives the boy confidence to approach people his own age. Employing sly visual humor, Newman (Hippo! No, Rhino) presents the narrative in sketchy, retro-flavored gouache brushstrokes on a white background. This is a quirky book, but sensitive readers will appreciate the child's shyness and the men's efforts to help him remember what it means to be a kid. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 January

K-Gr 2--On Tuesday (the only words in the book are the days of the week), a new boy in the neighborhood wants to play baseball with the other kids but is too shy. He glumly sits on a park bench that is occupied by four very diverse men. On Wednesday, he goes back to the park bench. The old men are puzzled about why the child is there. Thursday, he returns with gray streaks in his hair and old-man clothes. Friday, the men are gone, and now the boy is puzzled. He sees them romping on the playground equipment. Saturday, he finds a bicycle by the park bench and sees the men riding around on children's vehicles. So far, the boy is missing all the clues that the men are leaving for him. Sunday, the men come to the park with baseball equipment. They go off to play, leaving a bat, ball, and cap on the bench. The boy finally gets the hint, picks up the equipment, goes to the diamond, and hits the ball out of the park. That gives him enough confidence to ask to be included in the next kids' game. The cartoon gouache and ink illustrations are crisp and clear on the white space, but the story line will be hard for kids to follow. The message is more for adults than kids.--Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI

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