Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday (12)

As part of the Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 (Twitter: #nfpb2012), my goal is to read and review as many of the new non-fiction picture books that are released this year.  Wednesdays will be my primary day to post the reviews.

This week's Nonfiction Picture Books are centered around baseball.  I didn't intend to do theme related books two weeks in a row but it seems to work at the moment.  

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team
Author: Audrey Vernick
Illustrator: Steven Salerno
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 3, 2012)
Audience: 7 to 10 years old

When I read this book, I kept reading parts of it aloud to a friend.  It was like one of those Believe It or Not Fact books.  Can you imagine a family with 12 boys and 4 girls?  Can you imagine having one of the 12 brothers on the school team for over 22 years?  I was fascinated with this family's story and Vernick's telling of their tale.  I wasn't aware that there were brother teams who played on local leagues and in the case of the Acerra family, semi-pro ball.  The Acerras in particular were committed to baseball and family.  I loved the way that when one of the brothers was injured and lost an eye the other brothers practiced with him until he could return to the game.  And the illustration of 3 generations of Acerras playing baseball is priceless.  A fun read for baseball fans or those who just like a little piece of history.  

Lipman Pike: America's First Home Run King
Author: Richard Michelson
Illustrator: Zachary Pullen
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press (February 14, 2011)
Audience: 7 to 10 years old

I somehow missed this book last year but glad to have discovered it this year.  Did you realize that before baseball was called "baseball" that it was referred to as "base".  Yes, I didn't realize this.  I also didn't realize that there was a time in the history of baseball where it was technically illegal to pay players to play baseball.  Of course, people still found a way around this but it was interesting.  It was also interesting to learn about Lipman Pike and his skill both as a hitter and runner.  I loved how they compared how fast he was to a race horse and the subsequent 100 yard dash against a race horse.  The book also refers to early prejudices against Jewish immigrants and how some of Pike's team members were concerned if he could be loyal to them being both Jewish and from Brooklyn.  Another interesting picture book for baseball fans or those who just like learning about history. 

Don't forget to add a link to your own nonfiction picture book reviews from this past week. Thanks for participating in the challenge.