The smell of freshly mowed, perfectly groomed grass. The thwack of the bat as it meets the ball. The off-key singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The belief that all things, even a World Series, are possible for your team this year.
These are the surest signs that baseball season is just around the corner. That and the fact that the KidsPost office has received a ton of baseball books. So, just in time for the Washington Nationals’ first game on Thursday, here are our favorite new baseball books. Whether you play the game or are just a fan, we think you’ll be a fan of these books.
“The Fenway Foul-Up” by David A. Kelly, ages 6-9; 95 pages. This first title in the Ballpark Mysteries series has kid sleuths Mike Walsh and Kate Hopkins trying to solve the mystery of a missing bat so that the Boston Red Sox’ star slugger can win the big game.
“Roberto & Me” by Dan Gutman, ages 10-14; 180 pages. This part historical fiction, part fantasy tale is the latest book in the Baseball Card Adventure series. The “Roberto” is Robert Clemente, a legendary player for the Pittsburgh Pirates who died in a plane crash in 1972. Clemente was flying to Nicaragua with supplies for people of that country after a horrible earthquake. The “me” is Joe Stoshack who can travel in time when holding a baseball card. Can he go back in time and keep Roberto off that plane?
“Wing Ding” by Kevin Markey, ages 8-12; 196 pages. This book isn’t about professional athletes playing baseball, but about the Rambletown Ramblers, a team of 10- to 12-year-olds. The Ramblers must deal with swarming grasshoppers and a shortstop who suddenly can’t stop anything — short or long — if they have any chance of beating their dreaded rivals, the Hog City Haymakers.
“Best of the Best” by Tim Green, ages 10-14; 262 pages. Tim Green played Little League baseball as a kid and NFL football as an adult before starting to write books. “Best of the Best” is his seventh sports book for kids. It tells the story of Josh, a kid who loves playing baseball and is thrilled that his team has won a tournament at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. But when Josh’s parents start talking about divorce, he realizes that there are things that are more important that baseball.
“No Easy Way” by Fred Bowen, illustrated by Charles S. Pyle, age 6 and older, 32 pages. This beautiful picture book, written by KidsPost columnist (and huge Boston Red Sox fan) Fred Bowen, takes readers back to 1941 when Ted Williams, perhaps the greatest hitter in baseball history, had a batting average of .406 for the season. That means that Williams got four hits for every 10 times he batted. How hard is that? No player has done it since Williams.
— Tracy Grant