Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Oliver's Game

Oliver's Game

Matt Tavares
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Candlewick, 2004   ISBN: 0763618527

Oliver loves to play baseball and one day the manager of the Cubs sees him playing and invites him to come into the ball park to practice with the team. Oliver is, of course, delighted and he performs so well that the coach asks him if he would like to try out for the team and join the spring training. Oliver is over the moon because it is as if his greatest dream is coming true.

Then something happens which makes even baseball seem less important; Japan attacks Pearl Harbour and America goes to war. As Oliver reads about the players who leave their teams to go to war he realizes that he too cannot stay home and become a ball player, not when his country needs him.

Thus it is that Oliver joins the marines and on the island of Guadalcanal Oliver is injured. He is injured so seriously that the doctor's tell him that he "would never play ball again."

When Oliver comes home he finds it too painful to go and watch a ball game. He thinks that if he can't play then he can't be a part of the game. Or can he?

This moving story not only captures the love a young man has for a game but it shows us how much some young men had to sacrifice when they went to war. Pencil and watercolor illustrations in sepia tones superbly set the mood for the story, giving life to a dream lost and a love rediscovered.