Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Batter Up Wombat

Batter Up Wombat

Helen Lester
Illustrator:   Lynn Munsinger 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Houghton Mifflin, 2006   ISBN: 978-0547015491

The Champs are a motley crew of young creatures who have come together to play baseball – sort of. I say sort of because the Champs are not the best baseball team that you have ever seen. In fact they ended the last season at the bottom of the North American Wildlife League. But, dressed in their clean uniforms, they are hoping for a better season this year.

The players are getting ready for their first game when a very large animal walks onto the field. He tells them that he is a wombat. A wombat? Convinced that their new friend is a "Wham! Bat! A big hitter!" the animals quickly convince Wombat to join their team.

Unfortunately the animals do not take the take the time to explain the game of baseball to their new team mate. They give the Australian animal lots of tips using baseball jargon which only serve to confuse him. Poor Wombat goes out onto the field without having the faintest idea of what he supposed to be doing. The results are, as you can imagine, quite disastrous.

Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger have worked together many times now, and the combination of their talents is as wonderful as ever. This amusing book will delight young baseball fans. Lynn Munsinger has created laugh-out-loud funny illustrations which not only show the action in the story but which also show Wombat's thoughts. For example, feeling thoroughly confused, the poor animal sees himself locked in a cage when his team mates talk about going to practice in the "batter's cage." Clearly it does not pay to assume that a visitor understands ones local customs and games. Thankfully, though he is not much good when it comes to baseball, Wombat is very good at other things, as his new chums find out.