The grass is green and mowed, the sky is blue, there is a softness in the air, and it is time to play ball. Well, perhaps not for me, but on March 30th the American baseball season begins and many people will be pitching balls, swinging bats, running, sliding, and catching. I did not grow up watching or playing baseball, but have grown fond of the game since I moved to the United States. Today's poetry book perfectly captures the joys of the game and the excitement that players experience on that first game of the season.
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Harcourt, 2012, 978-0-547-68838-1
Winter is finally over and spring has arrived bringing with it the beginning of baseball season. It is time to celebrate the joys of baseball, and thanks to Douglas Florian we are able to do this vicariously through his poems.
Our baseball experience begins with some exercises. The eager team members get out on the field and they start warming up. First they “Bend to the right,” and then they stretch out their muscles that are “too tense and too tight.”
When the players are all loose and warmed up, the pitcher goes out on the mound. He tells us that he is the “great devastator” who creates curve balls, fastballs, sinkers, risers, and slumps. He is the “strikeout collector” and we better “Beware! Beware!”
Next we meet the catcher who, like the pitcher, tells us about his skills. He too is full of confidence that he will be able to meet any challenge that he is presented with. No matter what kind of ball comes his way, he will be able to “catch ‘em.”
We go on to meet other players and the umpire, and since it plays such an important role, we also get to share a moment with a baseball. This ball goes through so much that it ends up splitting. Though this is a little sad, there is a feeling of satisfaction in the poem because the ball has “Been there” and it “Did it.”
Anyone who has a fondness for baseball is going to enjoy this collection of poetry. Douglas Florian manages to capture the essence of the game, infusing the pages with the joy that baseball brings to those who play it.