Friday, December 4, 2015

Ready for a New Children's Series on Baseball?! You're going to love it!

What child has not played some form of ball game? Especially when there is a parent or grandparent there to help them learn about what it's all about. Yes! Playing Baseball! Many towns even have local teams who have a volunteer coach to teach them... One of those teams is the Hometown All Stars!

First, I want to point out that this is not just another children's book... Let me share the back cover:

It's more than just baseball... Nick's Very First Day of Baseball, the first of a planned series for children ages three to seven, teaches children about baseball using real coaching techniques. In this interactive storybook, kids will find hidden baseballs in the pictures, answer trivia questions, and there's even a page for autographs from their favorite players.

Included is the opportunity to book an author visit for libraries, school classes, etc. Do check out the Hometown All Stars website!

Nick's Very First Day of Baseball

By Kevin Christofora
Illustrated by Dale Tangeman

While I was visiting the site, I got to meet the All Stars! This hard-back full-color book has life-like art work and is jam-packed with delightful details that keep readers on each page for much longer than the norm. I was especially pleased to see that all kids from the neighborhood had the chance to apply for the team! If you, too, visit their site, you'll find individual pictures of the team members along with a brief personal sketch of each member, including the positions they play on the team. For older children, I believe this is a great addition. By allowing each child to become familiar, readers will obviously enjoy reading the book even more...

I was pleasantly surprised that this first book had nothing to do with playing a game. Rather, it begins right at the beginning of exactly what will happen if a child decides to join a team. This includes getting to know each of the members, getting uniforms, and hats!

You use a glove to catch
the balls.
Before going further, I wanted to especially introduce Billy Ball, or his stand in that is. Watch for him on the front and through the book giving hints or pointing out special activities just for readers! This fun addition to the book is cute, lovable, and very helpful in the learning process. For instance, he's right there on the last page, reminding each readers of what new words have been learned as a result of reading this new book.

Nick came with a new glove his father had bought for him as a new member of the team. Billy Ball tells readers what a glove is for...

Nick was so excited about the first meeting that it was all he could think of--he was seeing balls, bats, and gloves in his dreams!

And there, right in the middle of Nick's dreaming, Billy Ball wants readers to count how many balls can be found in the two-page spread...I found most of them, but the secret number will be provided before the end of the book!

So the first day arrived, some like Nick carried gloves--but what happened instead was that all of the players started exercising! You know, stretching fun like jumping jacks and helicopter and touch-our-toes. Gee, I've been doing these all my life, but this book shows exactly how to do them for those who have not yet learned that before any major exercise activities, like playing baseball, it is important to do stretching exercises first!

And then some discussion on baseball cards, but readers will have to find out I picked out players whose names I knew...LOL...But you get the idea!

At a time when too many children are spending their time on electronic devices, rather than in physical activity, I commend the author in initiating such a fine series to emphasize becoming involved with outdoor ball and all it entails...Who knows, one of your children may become so involved that they'll make it a career choice in the future! 

I was also impressed with the quality of the coach. It is obvious he is meant to be a role model of what we should look for and strive to have as one who leads any team activities. The general feelings is enthusiasm, caring, fun, but disciplined work to learn and play with peers, adults, and others children they've never met before. Kudos for an all-round job well done! This just might be a must-read for some of you--your children will help you by showing their interests in sports! Take advantage of that interest and support it through an excellent step-by-step explanation about what team sports really means.


Kevin Christofora found his calling when he began to coach little league. He has coached the Mountain Valley Little League (formerly the Woodstock Little League) since 2008. More than a pastime, Kevin loves working with the children. He prides himself on teaching them that it’s about more than a game: it’s about honor, respect, and community. As president of the league, he enjoys working with the parents and community members that all have one main interest: the kids. As he puts it, “Mountain Valley Little League is real fun, real life, and real baseball, with no substitutions”.

Written for children ages three to five, Kevin wrote The Hometown All Stars as a “bedtime story” to get kids interested in the national pastime again. His goal in writing this book was to get kids out of the house and onto the field – “ less screen, more green.” He believes in the valuable lessons that children learn from playing the game: teamwork, discipline, strategy, and thinking before they act. In addition, he wants to bring back the joy of being outdoors and playing, that kids in recent years have lost.

Since his retirement, Dale Tangeman has been active in the Woodstock art community, donating graphic art services to the little league, buying and selling vintage movie posters, playing his guitar in a local group, and, last but not least, working with Kevin Christofora as illustrator and partner on his series of baseball books for children, The Hometown All Stars.

Art and baseball have been Dale’s two loves. One of his fondest memories of baseball was being selected to play in his little league all-star game as short stop. A very large kid came up to bat and hit a rocket right at his head. The crowd gasped, but he managed to catch the ball squarely in his glove to save the game. It was a very proud moment that he will never forget. In helping to create these books Dale hopes his grandchildren will take an interest in baseball and create memories as lasting as his. (and similar to that shared below!)


   Watch for Magic Bat Day Coming Next!

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