The Bat Boy & His Violin Best Value

The Bat Boy & His Violin

The Bat Boy & His Violin

Reginald loves playing his violin, but his father, the coach of the worst team in the Negro National League in 1948, wants his son to be outside more. He volunteers him to be the team’s new bat boy. Reginald tries hard, but has no bat boy skills. However, his music inspires the team and turns around their losing season. They end up in a season-ending game against the best team in the league. Gavin Curtis has created a historically rich and satisfying story that weaves baseball and music into a warm father-son relationship. E. B. Lewis’ watercolors capture the era with grace and style.


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Best Baseball Picture Books by Tom Mason

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Roasted Peanuts

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Sam the Horse and Jackson the Cat are best friends and baseball fanatics who long to play together on a real team. Unfortunately when they’re old enough, Sam makes the team, and Jackson doesn’t – he’s too slow and can’t hit. He is, however, a terrific thrower, but not fast enough to be a pitcher. When Jackson takes a job at the ballpark as a peanut vendor, he discovers he can still be a legend and inspire his friend (and maybe help win a game)! Tom Egan’s story proves that friendship is a strong bond and not all the winners are on the field. His ink and watercolor drawings are a rich complement to his winning tale.


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  • by Tom Egan
  • Ages 4-8
  • Published in 2006
  • Peanut Vendors!
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Hit The Ball, Duck

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When Duck and his friends Goat, Sheep, and Frog get together to play ball, nothing turns out like it’s supposed to. For one thing, Frog can’t catch because he’s too small. And then Duck hits the ball too hard and it gets stuck in a tree. While trying to knock the ball down, the bat and the glove also get stuck. The comic mayhem builds as everyone works together to get the equipment back and Frog proves he can play after all. Told in a carefree rhyming style, the colorful characters pop off the page in this comically illustrated adventure.


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  • by Jez Alborough
  • Ages 4-6
  • Published in 2006
  • Children’s Book Sense Pick
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How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball

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In the America of David Shannon’s fantasy, baseball has been outlawed by the former vengeful ballplayer-turned evil businessman, Boss Swaggert. Baseball stadiums have been replaced by smoke-belching factories, baseball phrases are forbidden and it’s winter all the time because spring (and baseball season) never comes. Then Georgie Radbourn is born. He speaks in baseball slang and hurls snowballs like an opening-day pitcher. It doesn’t take long before he’s put on trial and forced to pitch to Swaggert to determine the outcome. Shannon’s acrylic paintings are as dynamic as they are ominous and bleak. He thoroughly captures an oppressive world without baseball. Younger readers in the age group may not fully comprehend the book’s political subtext, but the story of Georgie vs. Swaggert is thrilling just the same.


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  • by David Shannon
  • Ages 4-8
  • Published in 1994
  • NY Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year
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The Bat Boy & His Violin

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Reginald loves playing his violin, but his father, the coach of the worst team in the Negro National League in 1948, wants his son to be outside more. He volunteers him to be the team’s new bat boy. Reginald tries hard, but has no bat boy skills. However, his music inspires the team and turns around their losing season. They end up in a season-ending game against the best team in the league. Gavin Curtis has created a historically rich and satisfying story that weaves baseball and music into a warm father-son relationship. E. B. Lewis’ watercolors capture the era with grace and style.


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  • by Gavin Curtis and E. B. Lewis
  • Ages 4-8
  • Published in 1998
  • Negro National League
  • Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book
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Mama Played Baseball

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The time is during World War II, and while the men are off fighting, the wives are at home, and some of them are playing baseball in the first professional baseball league for women. A sweet, heart-warming story of a little girl who has two parents in different uniforms: a father off fighting the war and a mother playing baseball for a living. Chris O’Leary’s artwork details the fashions and architecture of the period with the comfortability of old photographs.


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  • by David A. Adler and Chris O’Leary
  • Ages 4-8
  • Published in 2003
  • Based on true events
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Baseball Saved Us

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While at war with Japan in 1942, the US government rounded up people of Japanese descent and placed them in internment camps in the desert. “Shorty” and his family live in one such camp where his father helps to build a baseball field so everyone can channel their energy. Against this heartbreaking backdrop, Shorty becomes a better and more confident player and carries those skills out of the camp when the war is over. Mochizuki personalizes a sad episode in American history and creates an uplifting story of one boy’s triumph. Lee’s beautifully detailed art highlights the bleakness of the camp and the thrills of the game.


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  • by Ken Mochizuki and Dom Lee
  • Ages 4-8
  • Published in 1993
  • Based on true events
  • Parents’ Choice Award Winner
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Pecorino Plays Baseball

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The star of “Pecorino’s First Concert” is back, this time at the ballpark. Pecorino is a silly boy whose mother has signed him up to play Little League. He’s got three problems with that: he doesn’t have any gum to chew, he’s never hit a baseball and he’s never caught a baseball. He eventually gets some gum, he doesn’t hit a baseball, and all he needs to do so his team can win the big game is to catch the ball that’s just been hit his way! It’s a fun and funny story with many humorous observations about the national pastime. The grinning, thick-bodied players bring added humor to the basepaths.


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  • by Alan Madison and AnnaLaura Cantone
  • Ages 4-8
  • Published in 2006
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Playing Right Field

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Every kid knows that right field is where the not-so-good baseball players play. Welch’s nameless hero knows that too and he doesn’t have to wait for his assigned position. He knows exactly where to go and he knows what he’ll be doing: watching the dandelions grow. Until he sees that a ball is coming right at him! Welch tells the story in easy rhymes and Simont’s gentle watercolors create the perfect Saturday afternoon ballgame. His body language for the kids is spot on.


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  • by Willy Welch and Marc Simont
  • Ages 4-8
  • Published in 1995
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Out of the Ballpark

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Better known as AROD, celebrity author Alex Rodriguez is one of the best baseball players in the game. This thinly disguised autobiographical look at an incident from AROD’s childhood stars a kid named Alex who’s playing terribly even though his team – the Caribes - is winning. Alex is determined to help them win the championship so he spends even more time practicing until he gets it right. You can’t go wrong with the book’s message about the payoff of hard work. Terrific art by Morrison showcases the lanky kids and the movements of the game with an expressive, active style.


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  • by Alex Rodriguez and Frank Morrison
  • Ages 4-8
  • Published in 2007
  • AROD!
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Nick Plays Baseball

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Nick loves baseball and only wishes he had practice every day instead of every week. The championship game is coming up and Coach Brian puts Nick and his co-ed teammates through their drills. Isadora provides an excellent breakdown of the game’s fundamentals – hitting, batting, base-running, rules, and tips (“Don’t pick flowers in the outfield!”) – framed by the story of Nick and the team’s big game. Her watercolor illustrations bring both the game and the rules to life.


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  • by Rachel Isadora
  • Ages 4-8
  • Published in 2001
  • Baseball fundamentals
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