Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Oliver's Game

Oliver's Game

Fall 2004 Picture Books
Ages: 6 - 10 yrs.
Author: Matt Tavares
Illustrator: Matt Tavares
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 0-7636-1852-7
Hardcover Price: $15.99
Baseball has inspired storytellers for generations; author-illustrator Matt Tavares’ new picture book, Oliver’s Game, is another tribute to the Golden Age of America’s pastime. The story is nostalgic on a few different levels; not only does the primary action take place in the World War II-era, but the pencil and watercolor illustrations are rendered in monochromatic shades of gray and sepia. Furthermore, the frame of the tale is set in Hall’s Nostalgia, a baseball memorabilia shop owned by Grandpa Oliver Hall and frequented by the namesake grandson who hears his Chicago Cubs stories. We learn that Grandpa, as a young man, once had a promising career as a Cubs hitter, but the escalation of the war prompts him to make a difficult decision. The shop is modeled after one that Tavares himself grew up around, and his reverence for all things baseball genuinely comes through. The book is a treat for scores of loyal Cub fans, but there is much to appreciate no matter which team colors you wear. As Grandpa tells young Oliver, “The game of baseball is more than just the players on the field. Everyone is part of it . . .”
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2004 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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