Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon

Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon

Rating: 5 stars

This book manages to tie together a whole lot of what I love about life (learning about and appreciating another culture) within the basic story line of what Ben loves about life (baseball).

This is a children's book done really, really well.  A boy loves baseball: in America, and in Japan.  As we turn the pages, on the left we see an American baseball scene and on the right we see a Japanese baseball scene.  His American pop pop takes him to watch baseball; his Japanese ji ji takes him to watch yakyu.  In America, Pop-Pop gets him a giant foam hand; in Japan Ji Ji gets him a giant plastic horn.

In America, the pitcher throws a 95-mile-per-hour fastball.
In Japan, the toushu throws a 153-kilometer-per-hour sokkyu.
The book has a wonderful rhythm to it, and the examples are simple and straightforward, all things that most kindergarten-ish-age kids can understand and relate to.  The simple comparing and contrasting that is happening about a game that we kids all know about and most love is fantastic.  This book has been written and/or edited well, and boils down the huge cultural differences between two countries' love of the same sport in such a manageable, impressive way.  And with cute illustrations to boot!

(Speaking of illustrations, chances are that you've seen Aaron Meshon's work before.  He's designed a whole lot of stuff for Crocodile Creek and Mudpuppy, brands we know and love in our house.  Click here to see his stuff.  We have several neat-o puzzles and placemats by Meshon, so the illustrations in this book were familiar to us in a great way.)
Here I am, pointing out...something interesting!

Ben's fifth birthday was yesterday, and this is the book I read to his junior kindergarten class.  They seemed to like it a whole lot, even though it was the item on the schedule that stood between them and cookies.  One of Ben's classmate is Japanese and has been to Japan.  Alas, he's not yet been to a baseball game there--only his big brother has!  Anyway, it was a great book for a group of kids to read and talk about a little...they even broke out in song ("Take Me Out to the Ball Game")!

If I had them on my hands, I'd shake my foam #1 finger around and blow my giant plastic horn to get everyone's attention, then holler out: "You did great, Aaron Meshon!  What a fantastic first children's book!  More, please!"


  1. Aww, what a lovely review Kate. I am so honored to have stumbled upon your review! Thanks for having some of my placemats and for the holler out ;) Give my best to your all star, Ben for me! :) - aaron

  2. I sure will! We love your stuff, but especially the book. Hope there is another one (or two) in the works!