Abbott and Costello. Ilustrated by John Martz. Who's on First.
19 February 2013, Quirk Books
Book received from the publisher.
When I was in graduate school, one of my classmates, David Ball, used to try to talk other students into doing this skit with him. I was always amazed at how many (usually) men were able to do this skit from memory, since I had never heard it, but then, I knew a lot of graduate students who could recite whole Monty Python films, if given the chance.
This picture book does a great job of introducing the work of Abbott and Costello, the only nonbaseball players to be included in the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame, to young readers. The crisp, bright drawings make the story less confusing, with diagrams and the dialogue broken down visually in ways that make things more clear. I love the color palette of the front cover (as my daughter pointed out, baseball's is "America's game", so the red, white and blue make sense), and inside the addition of avocado and orange backgrounds make the bear and bunny really pop. Different fonts and sizes also help the dialogue along. A brief history of the skit is included at the back. I can see this being a really popular read-aloud for second graders, who will no doubt giggle a LOT.
Sadly, David passed away last year. At his memorial service, I found out that he was a member of the Scholars for American Baseball Research, and had contributed many articles to various publications. Few of us who were in the Classics department with him knew this about him. I am glad that Quirk sent me this book; I will be donating it to my local elementary school in David's memory.
During this past year, I feel like I made some significant strides. Baker and Taylor sends me review boxes, and publicists and authors occasionally contact me. I became a Young Adult Books Central reviewer in April, and that has been a good learning experience. Serving as an organizer for the Cybils Awards was also vastly interesting and helpful in so many ways. As much as I would like to review for School Library Journal or to be a Newbery Award panelist, I'm not sure that I'm that good yet, or have the kind of stature that would cause me to be chosen.
I have settled into a somewhat discernible pattern in reviews-- Monday is realistic middle grade and nonfiction, Tuesday is fantasy, Wednesday is multicultural books, Thursday tends towards mysteries, Fridays are Guy books. The weekends are reserved for blathering, picture books, girl books, and anything else I can't fit in to other days. I do post in advance, and right now have a TBR that consists of books coming out in April and later, so I feel pleasantly organized.
When I started this, my children were 7, 10 and 12. Now, my youngest is in high school, my son comes back from his year in the Philippines in a couple of months, and my daughter has survived college. I have managed to hold on to my job in a school library, and have started coaching cross country. I finished reading all of the books in the school library two years ago, and manage to keep up with new orders. Common Core will be a challenge for the future, and I will just continue to improve. I try to keep personality leakage to a minimum so readers can get to the review-a-day quickly and not have to slog through my personal life!
Occasionally, fun things happen because of my blog, like Betsy Bird calling one of my posts "required reading" for the day. Ego boosts-- isn't that why we blog?
Wish I could send all of my loyal readers some cake. If I were a more organized person who could manage to get to the post office, I would do more giveaways and perhaps have more than 220 followers, but I hope that those of you who read this blog find my reviews helpful to you!