Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book Review: Curious George at the Baseball Game (Kindle edition)

If you're looking for a quick read about baseball that isn't too heavy on sabermetrics, look no further than Curious George at the Baseball Game written by Laura Driscoll with illustrations by Anna Grossnickle Hines, a 2006 installment in the classic franchise created in 1941 by Margret and H.A. Rey.  Spoilers after the jump.

The book chronicles a trip to the local ballpark made by George, the main protagonist who is "a good little monkey and always very curious."  George is accompanied at all times by the man with the yellow hat, whose real name is never disclosed.  Further information about this character remains a mystery throughout the entire book, but based on the color of his headwear, we can surmise that he is a fan of either the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Oakland Athletics.

The book is short on exposition and cuts straight to the action.  George and his handler attend a game featuring the Mudville Miners as they host the Rockets, presumably from Little Rock, AR, though the author never specifies the host city of the visiting team.  Though Mudville is likely a pseudonym for Marion, IL, their team's uniforms resemble those worn by Casey's squad in the famous poem

The man with the yellow hat turns out to be an individual with many connections.  Upon entering the stadium, the yellow-clad gentleman takes George to the home team's dugout where he meets the manager for the Miners, a close personal friend of George's handler.  George is given a Miners hat, and is allowed to watch the game from the dugout with the players.  

Unfortunately, descriptions of the game itself are few and far between, most likely because George is easily distracted by the bustle of the ballpark.  The Miners did face a RHP, for at least part of the game, who after his delivery tended to fall off to the first-base side of the mound, not unlike Mike Adams.  From the dugout, George saw the Miners hit a home run and strike out once.  But, after George distracts a baserunner that is picked off of second base, George and his handler are removed from the dugout.  They watch the rest of the contest from the stands, though no further game action is described.  The most the reader learns about the game comes from one view of the scoreboard:

As of the eighth inning, the Miners have a 7-4 lead over the Rockets.  I'm guessing that the starter for the Rockets lasted into the sixth inning before being removed because he issued too many walks and gave up the lead.  The scoreboard also tells us that George watched no less than 2+ innings from the dugout.  However, this is the last information about the game that the reader is ever given.  Instead, the narration follows George and the mild peril he experiences.  George gets in trouble because he jumped onto a camera in order to be shown on the big screen.  Apparently, this is prohibited in Mudville, a stark contrast from the position taken by the Los Angeleheim Angels:

In the end, George clears his name by helping a lost boy find his father.  The author goes so far as to name George the "star of the day."  Though it would be nice to know the result of the game, Curious George at the Baseball Game is a delightful book that excels at capturing the busy-but-fun atmosphere of a ballpark.  The Kindle edition that I rented from the library is bilingual and features a handy text-zoom tool.  OSITF recommends it for ages three and up.

1 comment:

  1. We own it. Micah reads it all the time (the English version).