Odd Ball: Hilarious, Unusual & Bizarre Baseball Moments, by Timothy Tocher, illustrated by Stacy Curtis (Marshall Cavendish, 2011, elementary/lower middle grade, 64 pages).
This is a book that gives exactly what the title promises--exciting and interesting facts and stories about baseball! It's a book that's great both for the elementary school kid, and for the 9 to 10 year old looking for a light read. The titular moments are presented in a graphic-heavy format, great for the more uncertain, or less committed reader, with larger paragraphs of text providing more heft for the older kid.
I'm not particularly interested in baseball. Growing up it was hard to care about the Baltimore Orioles all the way down in Arlington VA; my boys, on the other hand, became Red Socks fans as simple fact of life in these parts up north. So they were more interested than I was in this particular book, when it arrived from the publishers. And indeed, my oldest had read it thrice, and my youngest once, before I looked at it myself.
By that point, I had been told many of the anecdotes already (it's the kind of book that makes you want to say to any loved one who happens to be around--"Did you know that....." ) I found it really interesting, in a fascinating factoid way, myself. Did you know that a baseball once landed in a match vendors tray and started a fire? Did you ever hear about Wilbert Robinson, who boasted he could catch a ball dropped from an airplane, and how, when his manger hired a stunt pilot to put him to the test, it turned strangely sour? I could go on...
And so, although I do recommend this one to its intended audience, you could also do far worse than to get this for a difficult to shop for grown-up loved one who loves baseball!
The non-fiction Monday round-up is at Great Kid Books today.