Take Me Out to the Yakyu
Take Me Out to the Yakyu
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Aaron Meshon
ISBN 9781442441774
Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, 2013.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: aaron-meshon baseball grandparents japan multicultural sports take-me-out-to-yakyu

Take Me Out to the Yakyu
by Aaron Meshon

Aaron Meshon, making his picture book debut, sets up his smart, well-illustrated contrast between America's and Japan's embrace of baseball from the first page.

"I love baseball...," says a freckle-faced boy, "in America... and in Japan." In his right hand, he holds a blue baseball jersey with an American flag, and in his left hand, he holds a red jersey with a Japanese flag. As he introduces each new element from Japanese culture, the boy also exhibits the corresponding familiar American counterpart (and Meshon keeps the color coding). "My American pop pop takes me to watch baseball at the stadium," the narrator says, wearing the blue jersey and matching cap against a light blue background on the left-hand page. "My Japanese ji ji takes me to watch yakyu at the dome," the boy says, sporting the red jersey and matching cap, against a light red background. A glossary fashioned as a scoreboard at the back helps children who can't figure out the word from its context.

Other fun facts come to light: while the boy's family drives a blue station wagon to the ballpark in the U.S., he rides a short red bus that "turns into a train" to the baseball game in Japan. The boy describes what fans eat in the ball park, tells us the names for pitches (fastball in Japanese is "sokkyu") and explains scoring differences (in Japan, if one team has not gone ahead by the 12th inning, the game ends in a tie). Rookie Meshon scores a homuran (home run)!

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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