Friday, January 11, 2013


I’ve been a Detroit Tigers fan since I was a little kid with an attachment to the team and the game  of baseball developed through the connection to time I spent with my grandfather and father enjoying the national pastime.  Some of my fondest memories of time spent with my grandpa involved sitting on his back porch with him drinking out of glass bottles a multitude of different Towne Club  soda pop flavors …I think there were 24 flavors in all that my grandparents bought in big wooden grates…while listening  to the Tigers’ games on the radio.  And what young boy doesn’t cherish the ball games their Dad takes them to.   I have such great memories of eating hot dogs with my Dad at the old Tiger Stadium on Woodward & Trumbull while watching Sweet Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell turn double plays. 

As a parent now myself, I’ve shared my love of the game with my children as a bonding experience with them.  We’ve enjoyed some cherished family moments enjoying games together at the Tiger’s new home Comerica Park and watching on television as a new generation of heroes named Cabrera, Ordonez, Fielder, Avila & Verlander take the field and lead the team to division championships and the playoffs.  I believe that \ my children like the excitement associated with the sport but what they really enjoy is the quality time with me that watching these games together represents.    Enjoying baseball is an important pastime for our family.

With all these baseball memories in mind, I recently discovered a book that ties into our family’s enjoyment of the game published by CAPSTONE YOUNG READERS in partnership with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED KIDS called “Goodnight Baseball”.   I’ve been reading the book to my 4 year old twins this week at bed time, literally all week because they’ve asked me to reread it to them every night, and the kids love it.  I enjoy reading it to them because it is a nice nostalgic tale that our family can relate to about a father taking a son to his first baseball game.

The story written by Michael Dahl explores the sights and sounds of baseball through a fun rhyme that makes the book an easy and fun bedtime read for a parent.  Also because of the rhyme type storytelling there isn’t a lot of text which allows you to really enjoy and focus on the great illustrations in the book by ChristinaForshay.   “Good Night Baseball” does a really nice job of portraying the excitement through a kid’s perspective of experiencing his or her first trip to a Major League ballpark through Dahl’s rhymes and Forshay’s sketches.   Reader’s experience the sights and sounds of a  trip to the ballpark starting from pulling into the stadium parking lot and wrapping up with a Daddy carrying his tucked out son up to bed when they get home.

I appreciated that Christina Forshay’s illustrations had a classic 1960s/1970s feel to them that reminded me of the animation style of cartoons like “Woody Wood Pecker” & “Tom & Jerry” and Disney movies such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “the Fox & the Hound” that I enjoyed when I was a little kid.  Forshay’s drawings drew my kids’ attention into the book artwork rather than me just reading the words to them and allowed aspects of the story to pop out of the pages at them.  Three of my children and mine’s favorite images were a display of the ball diamond that made it seem as if you were sitting in the outfield taking the whole field in; a picture of the daddy taking a photo of his son with a lifelike team mascot; and the last page of the book that shows the son falling asleep in his room holding a stuffed toy of the mascot as the moon is displayed in the child’s window looking as if it is a baseball.  Forshay does an exceptional job portraying the story through the eyes of a child.

Something I thought was funny that caught my attention while reading the book was how Michael Dahl has the young boy say “goodbye” to all the different things at the ballpark as they are leaving the stadium.  He says goodbye to the players, their equipment, the field, the seats, and the trash of the ground as they are leaving.  My son does exactly that when we go out places – saying goodbye to all sorts of people, animals and objects when we are out and about.  For example we were at the grocery store the other day and as we headed to the car he said good bye to the cashier, than the shopping cart, and the food we didn’t buy, and finally to the building as we pulled out of the parking lot – so Dahl’s inclusion of that angle into his story really hit home.  I also appreciated how the author included things that would excite children about going to a stadium such as showing your tickets at the gate, buying snacks, meeting a team mascot, getting a chance to walk the bases and see a dugout, catching a foul ball.  Including the “goodnight” angle too really makes this a great bedtime story because it keeps the kids attention and entertains them but it closes out getting them ready to go to bed themselves – excellent!

The downside for us was that we read “Goodnight Baseball” as an e-book on my iPad.  I really don’t like reading bedtime stories from my tablet to the kids because they have a tendency for me to want to play apps with them instead and it just doesn’t seem as nice to read to them from as a printed book.  Some of the pages weren’t as aligned on the screen and had to toggle the screen somewhat to see the whole picture.  I have a feeling that the book’s images would display better and look a little nicer in print versus digital.  That being said we did find the e-book overall to be a very enjoyable read that my children repeatedly went out of their way to ask me to share with them again at bedtime after I read it to them the first time.

Goodnight Baseball” hits store retail shelves in March as a hardcover book for $14.95 and is aimed for children ages 4 – 7.  If you are looking for a good bedtime reading book to share with your children the Geek Daddy highly recommends you check it out!

Disclaimer:  I received a free advance copy digital e-book of “Goodnight Baseball” from the publisher to review.  The thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.

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