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

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction


Spring 2005 Non-Fiction
Ages: 6 - 10 yrs.
Author: Matt Tavares
Illustrator: Matt Tavares
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 0-7636-2387-3
Hardcover Price: $15.99
It's 1903, and the St. Paul Saints are leading the Minneapolis Millers 3-0, when Miller Andy Oyler, the shortest player in the league, steps up to the plate with two outs, bases loaded. As a sudden downpour turns the field into muddy quagmire Oyler, in the midst of a horrendous batting slump, astounds the heckling crowd with "the unmistakable sound of ball against bat. CRACK!"

Tavares treats his readers to a comedic showcase of the bumbling Saints as they scramble among the puddles to locate a ball that is ultimately found a few feet from home plate. The muted scenes of a rain-soaked muddy old ballpark are depicted with watercolor and pencil in shades of brown, gray, and navy blue. The illustrations perfectly capture the movement and energy of the players running, sliding, slipping, dodging, and jumping across the infield, as perpendicular strokes of rain pour down. The exaggerated humorous facial expressions, especially Oyler's, reveal the surprise, excitement, and delight of the story of the shortest homerun in baseball history.

Toni Rowden   ©2005 Parents' Choice

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