Saturday, April 27, 2013

Kid Konnection: Play Ball! (Audio)

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you another fun baseball book that Booking Son enjoyed!

Summary: Eleven-year-old cousins catcher Liam McCarthy and pitcher Carter Jones grew up playing baseball together. Now, their team is on the verge of winning the greatest championship of all: the Little League Baseball World Series. To reach the title match, however, they must first beat their number one rivals from Southern California. Little do they know that the game will prove to be just the first challenge they'll face on their road to the championships. -- Hachette Audio

Booking Son isn't exactly a big reader, but he will read books about sports and sports figures. And if that sport can be baseball, then all the better. So it was with much excitement that we started listening to PLAY BALL! by Matt Christopher. Audiobooks work really well for Booking Son in the car, and Lord knows we are in the car all of the time.

PLAY BALL! follows eleven year old cousins Liam and Carter as they make their first appearance in the Little League World Series. The boys' team reaches the US final where they have to play the team from Southern California. When Carter recognizes a player on the CA team that mercilessly teased him at a summer baseball camp, he begins to doubt his abilities. Can the boys beat this very talented team and reach the finals?

But that's only the beginning of the story. After the Little League World Series, Liam and Carter have to face another set of challenges that will not only test their baseball team but also test their friendship!

Booking Son and I both enjoyed PLAY BALL!, although I think he liked it a bit more than I did. That's not surprising since the book is aimed at middle grade readers. Booking Son couldn't wait to get back in the car to continue the story. According to him, it was the best audiobook that he's ever read!

I asked him specifically what he liked about this book and here's what he said:
  • All of the baseball game scenes -- it was like listening to a ball game on the radio
  • Learning about the rules of Little League like the pitch count ones
  • Everything!
As a mom, I liked that the story was both fun and educational. I learned a thing or two about the history of the Little League World Series as well as Little League rules. In addition, I liked that the book handled some difficult topics like bullying, pressure with playing sports, following rules, and friendship problems. I also appreciated the quality of the messages in the story. The main characters were good kids and so supportive of each other.

PLAY BALL! was read by Nick Sullivan. I thought he did a great job given that he had to do kid and adult voices and even mom voices. However, what I enjoyed the most about his performance was when he "announced" the baseball games. He had a great broadcasting tone to his voice and he managed to make each at bat appearance quite dramatic.

Overall, Booking Son absolutely loved PLAY BALL! and can't wait to read (or listen to) the other ones in the series.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of PLAY BALL!

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


rhapsodyinbooks said...

My book this week is a collection of poems about being nice to the Earth - sort of a poetry month/earth day bonanza!

Laura Fabiani said...

I haven't discovered many audiobooks for kids, so this one sounds ideal! My son doesn't play baseball but I think he would love it all the same.

bermudaonion said...

Vance adored Matt Christopher books when he was young. I wasn't aware of audio books back then but I'm sure he would have loved something like this in the car too.

Stacy Juba said...

I don't review children's books often, but I happened to review two adorable picture books in the same week - Fooling Ewe and Pandora's Box. The posts also contain interviews with the authors. Thanks for the opportunity to share!