NONFICTION

S Is for Slugger: The Ultimate Baseball Alphabet

Triumph. Apr. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781629377964.
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Gr 2-5–Serious baseball fans will love this comprehensive, vividly illustrated alphabet book featuring specific baseball lore and culture as well as some of the biggest names in the game. The format provides a wide-reaching scope of topics. Each letter highlights a different player or players and explains why they were so well known. Some of the letters include historical information; “P” is for pioneers includes Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in the Major Leagues, and Mamie Johnson, the first woman to pitch in the Negro Leagues. Some pages mention game-specific vocabulary (“K” is for strikeout). The artwork is visually striking—bold colors and hard lines give a nod to the superhero status of some baseball players. Readers will enjoy some of the wordplay visuals that accompany each letter: “Z” is for Zzzzz and shows the Sandman, Mariano Rivera, putting bats to bed while “H” for Hammering Hank Aaron depicts the Hall of Famer holding an extra-large hammer like a baseball bat. The ABC format is an interesting choice. The text is short and to the point, but the background knowledge needed to make sense of the information will limit the readership.
VERDICT The ABC format of the book suggests this book is targeted at the youngest readers, but they will need someone with plenty of background knowledge in baseball and baseball lore for some of it to make sense.

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