Baseball Around the World: How the World Plays the Game

Bushel & Peck. Jun. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781638190912.
Gr 4 Up–This well-crafted book focuses on baseball’s diversity and worldwide appeal, proving Singleton’s claim of “how much the game unifies us.” Thumbnail sketches outline baseball’s history and growth in the U.S. and 11 other countries, and each profile cites past and present luminaries, including Roberto Clemente of Puerto Rico and Shohei Ohtani of Japan. Athletes from 20 different countries currently account for almost a third of MLB players. All 30 MLB teams have camps in the Dominican Republic, which sends the largest number of players to MLB. Venezuela sends the second highest number. Meanwhile, MLB teams send developing players to gain experience in winter ball leagues in Australia and Latin America. Before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, winter ball leagues in Cuba, Mexico, and Puerto Rico offered a haven to Negro League players barred from playing in the MLB. An overview of Little League baseball, with over 200,000 teams in over 80 countries, notes participation among girls is rising. Excellent graphic details enhance and enliven the text with color photos, illustrations, maps, and time lines. There are also factoids on how fans enjoy the game all over the world. Ballpark foods include gelato in Italy and takoyaki, or fried dough balls filled with octopus, in Japan. Readers will love knowing how fans in Korea and Latin America cheer their teams with fight songs, drums, and marching bands.
VERDICT A wide audience of young readers will find plenty to cheer for in this winning overview, with its grand slam collection of timely facts and positive message.

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