________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 21 . . . .June 24, 2005


The Baseball Card.

Jack Siemiatycki and Avi Slodovnick. Illustrated by Laura Watson.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press, 2005.
32 pp., cloth, $21.95.
ISBN 1-894222-95-4.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Lorraine Douglas.

** /4

Reviewed from f&g's.



When Dad was a kid, all the boys wanted to have the most baseball cards, especially of the best players. They brought their cards to school every day and played a tossing game called "closest-to-the-wall" to win cards from one another.

Dad had many cards, but his most treasured was the Babe Ruth card from Grandpa. One day, he brought the card to school to show it off at recess. No one else had ever seen a Babe Ruth card.


The Baseball Card is the second book by sports fans Jack Siemiatycki and Avi Slodovnick who both loved to collect sports trading cards as children. Their first book, The Hockey Card (Lobster Press, 2001), sold over 40,000 copies worldwide and featured a nostalgic story about Uncle Jack's favorite Maurice Richard hockey card. At school, Uncle Jack is challenged by Sylvester Kornpot to play a game of "even and odds" with their collection of sports cards. Jack loses all his cards—except for his precious Maurice Richard card. Then in a magical wink of an eye, the game changes!

     Their second book, The Baseball Card, has the same plot and story conventions except this time the tale features the sports card of Babe Ruth. A boy and his dad are at a Yankees game, and the boy asks about Dad's favorite player. He then hears the story of how Dad was challenged when he was at school to a winner-take-all game of "closest-to-the wall" by Louie "The Lip" Lippenhammer. Dad almost loses all of his cards but makes a comeback when he is down to his last one—the treasured Babe Ruth card. He wins all the cards back and is sure the Babe tipped his hat to him. Dad gives his son the Babe Ruth card that night at bedtime.

internal art     The illustrations are done in a comic contemporary style which matches the lighthearted tone of the tale. This book would be a good companion for picture books on the theme of collecting like Hannah's Collections by Marthe Jocelyn (Tundra, 2000). It would also complement other baseball stories like Robert Burleigh's magnificent picture book story about Babe Ruth called Home Run (Silver Whistle, 1998) or Bats about Baseball by Claire Mackay and Jean Little (Viking, 1995).

     This is a very sweet story but it's a replay in that it is so similar to the first book. Having the same plot and story conventions, it becomes formulaic. It is also available in Spanish.

Recommended with reservations

Lorraine Douglas is a writer and artist living in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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