GOOD READS – CHILDREN’S BOOKS
One of my very favorite parts of the day is reading to my son before going to sleep. The best books take us to another place and set us up for the loveliest of dreams as we drift off to another world that lives only inside our heads. Night at the Stadium (Aladdin, Jeter Children’s, April 2016) presented by Derek Jeter, about a young boy who gets lost in Yankee Stadium and ends up talking to baseballs, bats, gloves, Babe Ruth in Monument Park, and of course Derek Jeter, is a homerun with kids and parents alike.
Released today, it arrived in the mail shortly after I dropped off my son at school. I pre-ordered it from Amazon last week. My sister and 3-year-old nephew immediately read the tale. Even though my nephew isn’t easily captivated by books (and may have asked, “Is it done yet?” once or twice), we agreed that my niece and son are going to be in love with this book. For starters, illustrator Tom Booth’s colorful images are eye-catching and seem real. The talking balls and bats practically jump off the page. Writer Phil Bildner knows how to tap into a kid’s imagination. What kid doesn’t want to have conversations with his or her baseball? And, helllooooo, Derek Jeter is the one presenting this, and he appears in the book to boot. How cool is that? This books is part of a partnership between Jeter and Simon & Schuster, which has the athlete and role model releasing books for young children, middle schoolers, and adults alike. The children’s books are meant to teach fundamentals about life inspired by the values of Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation.
We come from a suburb of New York City, and my late grandfather would take my mother and her brothers to opening day at Yankee Stadium every year, when they were kids. In fact, we used to joke that my grandfather would disown us if we rooted for another team. My thirtysomething sister may or may not still dream of marrying Jeter. In other words, we might be a bit bias. Still, I think any baseball fan will get a kick out of this story for children.
Yankees fans, however, will appreciate some of the insider references. First, the family on the cover resembles that of Derek Jeter. The protagonist, Gideon, could be a young Derek Jeter, in fact. Then, the talking sushi points to the gourmet options and even pokes fun at their lack of belonging at the stadium. Even in a children’s book, it’s nice to see people not taking themselves too seriously. Of course, the inclusion of Derek Jeter and Babe Ruth will make this a keeper for all Yankees die hards. This is the season for cracker jack and baseball, and this book will put the whole family in the spirit. I bet my son will dream of hitting one out of the park after this read.