Skip to main content

The Baseball Player and the Walrus by Ben Loory, illustrated by Alex Latimer



The Walrus and the Baseball Player by Ben Loory and illustrated by Alex Latimer is such a perfect book! Perfectly paced, perfectly mirrored and perfectly kind of weird - in the best way possible that kids are sure to love. At its most basic, The Walrus and the Baseball Player is a story about the responsibilities that come with having a pet. But it's also about discovering what you love, finding a way to make it work and picking up the pieces and going on when it doesn't. And The Walrus and the Baseball Player is about hard work - the hard work of taking care of a pet and taking care of yourself.




The Walrus and the Baseball Player begins, "Once upon a time there was a baseball player. He played in the major leagues, and made lots and lots and lots of money. People came from all around the world to see him play. But the baseball player was unhappy. And no one knew why." A trip to the zoo and some time spent at the walrus enclosure prove to be life changing. That night, as he lay in bed, the baseball player found himself "laughing, remembering the walrus's antics" - the way he lolled, the funny noises he made and the way he bobbed his head as he gobbled down fish. The baseball player decides that he will buy the walrus.



Of course, you can't just go to the zoo and buy a walrus, but the baseball player does his research, builds an amazing enclosure with all the perfect amenities, including a retractable roof in case it gets too hot or too cold and barrels of walrus vitamins. With characteristic deadpan and straightforwardness, Loory writes, "Basically, he showed the zoo people that he meant business." Everything goes swimmingly from then on for the baseball player and the walrus. Until the baseball season starts up again. The baseball player misses the walrus so much that he quits the team and things spiral downward from there. But, the baseball player isn't a quitter. And he finds a way to bring happiness back into his life that is maybe just a tiny bit expected, but also really cool.

Latimer's illustrations are crisp, colorful, filled with detail and just the right amount of cartoonish for this sort of serious, sort of silly story. 

More books illustrated by Alex Latimer:





Source: Review Copy


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…