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Curious George at the Baseball Game (Curious George 8x8 (Hardcover)) (Hardback) - Common Relié – 2006
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George sees the coach sending hand signals to the runner on second base--and thinks this is a new way to cheer on the Miners. So he begans to wave his arms--but his gestures distract the runner and he gets tagged out. Needless to say, those in the dugout are angry at George!
So George and TMWTYH watch the rest of the game in the stands. George notices a camerawoman roving through the crowds--and was excited to see people around him appear on the large screen in the stadium! So he tries to climb on the camera and ends up angering the camerawoman. But the good news is that his antics help reunite a lost boy with his father!
This past weekend we visited a bookstore and my son wanted not one, but SEVEN Curious George books to add to his collection (he already had several at home). Written by Laura Driscoll and illustrated in the style of H.A. Rey by Anna Grossnickle Hines, Curious George at the Baseball Game was one of the books we bought at the store.
This engaging tale--one of the best in the CG series--is geared towards ages 4-8, so it's a good book for beginner/intermediate readers. It's also makes a great bedtime story!
In addition, Curious George at the Baseball Game contains two Bonus Activities: The inside of the back cover has two black and white illustrations for a Spot the Difference activity (I loved those as a kid!). There is also a circular maze on the back cover; George must get through the maze to find his baseball cap and ball.
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 had 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, with their hallmark Rally Monkey.
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. I recommend it for ages three and up.