Have you heard the song "The Base Ball Polka?" No? Not surprising, but it was the first known baseball song. It did not stick, unlike "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" which has remained incredibly popular since it was written in 1908. The unofficial anthem of baseball, it is often sung during the 7th inning stretch at many major league parks.
Baseball has a rich history in the United States. It dates back to the late 1700s and boomed in popularity in the mid-1800s. Today, Major League Baseball is a big business and important part of American culture. The books highlighted below are a mix of picture books, chapter books, middle grade and young adult novels, and several nonfiction selections perfect for reading aloud or sharing with the baseball fans in your life.
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Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Illustrated by Amiko Hirao
As baseball season gets into full swing, this color-splashed, wild, animal-filled picture book is the perfect accompaniment for the younger fan. The home team is represented by an elephant, a cheetah, a flamingo, and an assortment of other vibrant characters. At the center of the story are baseball-crazy Katie Casey and her enthusiasm for the team. Never missing a game, yelling at the umpire, knowing the names of all the players-it's all there in Katie's support. When the score is tied, 2-2, Katie steps out of her role as fan, and becomes the cheerleader rallying the team as she leads the stands in singing the familiar song of the title. In the end, Katie is just the support that is needed and she rides triumphantly off on the shoulders of pitcher, giraffe. To the delight of large and small readers, a CD accompanies this picture book with three contributions from Grammy and Oscar award winner, Carly Simon. Fascinating performer's and artist's notes appear at the end of the tale enriching the reading experience. 2011, Charlesbridge, Ages 6 to 8, $17.95. Reviewer: Janice DeLong (Children's Literature).