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LIFE'S A BALL WITH BILLY THE BASEBALL

Author: Mark Cervasio

Illustrator: Jim McWeeney

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Publisher: Llumina Stars, 2007

Material: paperback

Summary: Do baseballs have names? How do they get to be the game-winning ball? One baseball -- we'll call him Billy -- takes us on his life's journey from his days as just a young cork center to playing in the seventh game of the World Series! This is a fictional story with factual information about baseballs.

Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader, reluctant reader

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 10; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 6 to 9

Reading Level: 3

Age of Child: Read by student at Menchville High School as part of the Use Your ABCs program.

Young Reader Reaction: I picked this book because of the nice pictures. If I were younger, I would like this book because I can learn a lot about baseball. It was easy to read.
A second Menchville student says he picked it because it's about a sport he plays. "I think it was a good story."

Adult Reader Reaction: The facts the author offers are fascinating. The story itself, though, asks readers to accept a lot of stuff "just because." There are lots of questions like how does a cork know what the sound of a truck engine is? or how does a pitcher throw a ball with a hat on its head? or that the other baseballs came from Costa Rica? or how does a young cork go from not knowing what he'll become to "living his dream"? Borders lists this as a book for 9- to 12-year-olds. Unless they are remedial readers, they may find this a "little kid's book."

Pros: There is a lot of good information about how baseballs are manufactured and used by Major League Baseball.
Menchville student: This is easy to read and it has great illustrations.

Cons: The author's approach didn't work for conveying the information. It would have been great if "Billy" had set up the story in retrospect, starting with the Hall of Fame, or, better yet, just talking to the audience about baseball, without the manufactured World Series event.
Menchville student: This is kind of long for a children's book.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This as an excellent reference or starting point for baseball fans who want to know more about the sport.
Menchville student: It would be a great book for a bedtime story.

If You Liked This Book, Try: H IS FOR HOME RUN; A BASEBALL ALPHABET   ABNER DOUBLEDAY; BOY BASEBALL PIONEER (Young Patriot Series)   RALLY CAPS

Educational Themes: The information about how baseballs are created, how they are prepared for games, and how they are used in games is exceptional. Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame online (or in person) to build on the knowledge offered here.

Notes: The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, sports

Date(s) Reviewed: February 2008, June 2008, February 2009

Other Reviews: See reader feedback at barnesandnoble.com and borders.com.




                 

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