________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 13 . . . . March 4, 2005


H is for Home Run: A Baseball Alphabet.

Brag Herzog. Illustrated by Melanie Rose.
Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, (Distributed in Canada by H.B. Fenn and Company), 2004.
38 pp., cloth, $22.95.
ISBN 1-58536-219-0.

Subject Headings:
Baseball-Juvenile literature.
Alphabet books-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Patricia Fay.

*** /4


K is for Kick: A Soccer Alphabet.

Brag Herzog. Illustrated by Melanie Rose-Popp.
Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, (Distributed in Canada by H.B. Fenn and Company), 2003.
38 pp., cloth, $22.95.
ISBN 1-58536-130-5.

Subject Headings:
Soccer-Juvenile literature.
Alphabet books-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Patricia Fay.

*** /4


Y is for pitcher Cy Young,

who won and won and won-

511 victories

by the time he was done.

After every season, the Cy Young Award is given to the best pitcher in each league. In 22 major league seasons from 1890 to 1911, Denton True 'Cy' Young pitched an incredible 7,356 innings and won 511 games. It is likely neither record will ever be broken. Today, pitchers may win the Cy Young Award with 20 wins in a season. But Cy Young did that 15 times during his long career.

Y is also for the New York Yankees, the most successful team in major league history. Babe Ruth led the Yankees to their first championship in 1923. Since then the team has won nearly one-third of all World Series played - 26 championships over 80 years. In 1998 the Yankees won 125 games (including the playoffs), a single-season record. (from H is for Home Run)

Soccer is 'the simplest game.'

That's the letter S.

Don't own a ball? Use rolled-up socks.

No sport does more with less.

On city streets or sandlots,

There are many ways to play.

Many soccer superstars

Started just that way.

In 1862, when a man named J. C. Thring wrote ten rules for a sport that would become known in the United States as soccer, he called it 'The Simplest Game.' The object of soccer is, indeed, simple: Put the ball in your opponent's goal more often than they put it in yours.

The basic rules of soccer are so simple that the game can be played in some form almost anywhere. Parks and streets serve as makeshift soccer fields. A pair of trees or rocks or hats can be turned into goals. Imagination is an important soccer skill. In fact, one young boy in Brazil grew up in the 1940s using a grapefruit as a soccer ball. Do you know his name? Pelé. (from K is for Kick)

H is for Home Run
K is for Kick

With the days becoming longer, can baseball and soccer registration be far behind? These two titles will be just the thing to while away the hours until the kids can actually play the games outdoors.

     Both books share the same format. Each letter of the alphabet is presented in upper and lower case and accompanied by an illustration. As you can see in the excerpts above, each letter has a short rhyme in large font and then interesting facts are presented in smaller font.

     The sports have been well researched, and Brad Herzog provides enough information and statistics to satisfy any fan. In H is for Home Run, he includes the discrimination faced by African Americans. They were not allowed to play in the major leagues until 1947. He also mentions the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that existed from 1943 -1954.

     In K is for Kick, we learn how soccer was originally known as "association football." That was shortened to "assoc" and an "er" was added, with the term eventually becoming "soccer." It is known as "football" in every country in the world except for Canada and the United States. The game, rules, equipment needed, and many of the famous soccer players add to the interest of the reader.

     The acrylic painting illustrations by Melanie Rose convey the excitement of both games. Each painting is very detailed and ably complements the text.

     Although both books are well written and illustrated, it is hard to pinpoint the audience for these books. The 7-9 age group would probably enjoy these books, but I suspect they would appeal to parents and grandparents as well.


Patricia Fay is a teacher-librarian at Beaumont Elementary School whose husband played hooky to watch the 1956 World Series game in which the Yankees' Don Larson pitched a no-hitter!

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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