(Major League Baseball: First Base Books)
by Christopher Jordan
Fenn/Tundra of Tundra Books of Northern New York 2/11/2014 Age 3 to 7 26 pages each
978-1-77049-474-9 / 978-1-77049-518-0
“Baseball Animals celebrates the magical world of professional baseball and introduces young fans to each MLB team named after an animal. In this official MLB publication, children will enjoy following clues and guessing which animal is associated with each team, as well as learning why the various teams decided to name themselves after a tiger, a blue jay, or a diamondback snack. With detailed information and brilliant wildlife photography celebrating each animal, Baseball Animals will teach children about nature through the exciting world of baseball while they cheer for their favorite teams and players.
“Baseball Opposites introduces children to important early concepts through the exciting world of professional baseball. From such entries as safe/out to on/off and day/night, children will learn all about the much-loved game, while appreciating the many opposites that appear in the sport and in the word around us. With simple yet informative text and incredible action photographs of the players, this book is the perfect choice for young baseball fans to enjoy on their own, or for parents and caregivers to read to the next generation of MLB stars.”
Baseball Animals: “Which MLB team was named after a black bird with a bright orange underbelly? This bird likes to perch high in the treetops and prefers to eat dark-colored fruit such as cherries or purple grapes.”
Baseball Opposites: “small – A baseball is small. big – A baseball stadium is big.”
Baseball Animals hits a homerun. The clue pages contain two clues: a rather easy clue, marked with a question mark, and a harder clue below that, marked with a hand-held magnifying glass. Not every easy clue is as easy as it might seem, at least for young kids. The other, harder clue, is great for older kids beyond the age intended for Baseball Animals and for adults. If you are a die-hard fan of Major League Baseball, both clues might be a breeze. Being a fan myself, but not one who thinks much of teams other than the ones she likes, I could not answer all of the questions. Of course, you also need knowledge of animals.
The answers, always on the next spread*, left side, includes a baseball player from the team in question. I believe the players are stars from their respective teams, but without an in-depth knowledge of MLB, I am not sure. The Baltimore Orioles, named after Maryland’s state bird, has at times used a cartoonish oriole while at other times it looked authentic. Personally, I love the cartoonish oriole logo but not because the team is cartoonish. Say that, and you can cease reading this review immediately. In addition to the beloved Baltimore Orioles, kids will learn about a couple of sea creatures, a few from Africa and Asia, the dessert, a great American symbol, and every young child’s favorite. Young children will love the close-up, full detailed photographs of the team-named animals and most will enjoy the same detailed photographs of the MLB players. An appendix lists—by division—each team’s location, date it joined MLB, and a color photograph of its logo. Young kids, especially boys, will enjoy Baseball Animals.
Baseball Opposites contains basic concepts young children need to understand. An understanding of baseball, or even simple enjoyment of the game, will give kids greater enjoyment of Baseball Opposites. Each spread*, contains one pair of baseball related opposites, in the upper-outer corners of each page. Next, is a baseball-related sentence using each term, located somewhere on each page, and finally, an illustration of the term—always an MLB photograph filling most of each corresponding page. MLB visually explains each opposite pair with baseball players or baseball objects. These photographic illustrations have sharp detail and some even help explain a baseball concept. Young, and old, boys will love the action portrayed on most pages. If lucky, their favorite team or player will be among those helping young children learn opposites.
Though all the terms are baseball related, most of the terms children should be learning at this stage, (age 3+). These include such opposites as on/off, up/down, open/close, hot/cold, sit/stand, and left/right. The opposites are not strictly baseball terms, such as infield/outfield or homerun/strike out, but do use baseball as the point of reference. Should this disappoint anyone, turn the pages until you come to the opposite safe/out. The umpire struts his stuff calling the player sliding into home plate, “SAFE!” The ump is calmer while declaring a Chicago Cubby out—on a three pitch swing and miss. Baseball Opposites also contains additional MLB information for the young and old baseball fan. Rather than a team-related appendix, a glossary of baseball terms fills the page: bunt, steal a base, switch-hitter, dugout, and GRAND SLAM!
Oh, wait. “GRAND SLAM” is not in Baseball Opposites. I meant to say Baseball Animals and Baseball Opposites are GRAND SLAM books for young baseball fans. Dad, it is your turn to read these books to your children, getting them ready for the baseball season. Though the 2014 season in nearly half-over, there is never anytime better than the present to begin something, unless, of course, when waiting for an inside pitch to drill down the third base line. That is something completely different to teach your child.
*Spread – A spread is the left and right pages when a book is opened flat. Eg. pages 2 & 3 may be a spread and the end page image is a spread.
BASEBALL ANIMALS and BASEBALL OPPOSITES: (MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: FIRST BASE BOOKS). Texts copyright © 2014 by Christopher Jordan. Photograph copyrights © held by various individuals. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Fenn/Tundra of Tundra Books of Northern New York, Plattsburgh, NY.
Learn more about the Sports (MLB — Hockey — NASCAR) series by Mr. Jordan HERE.
Meet the author, Christopher Jordan, at his short bio: http://www.tundrabooks.com/authors/author.pperl?authorid=152647
Also by Jordan Christopher
Hockey & NASCAR