Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Sensational Baseball Song: Take me out to the ball game

The Sensational Baseball Song: Take me out to the ball game

Jim Burke
Picture Book
For ages 5 and up
Little Brown, 2006   ISBN: 978-0316758192

It is 1908 and Jack Norworth, an entertainer by profession, is sitting on a New York train. Inspired by seeing a poster advertising a baseball game, Jack begins to write the lyrics for a song. The words describe how Katie Casey is "base ball mad" and how she persuades her "young beau" to take her to see a baseball game. He will buy her peanuts and some Cracker Jack and they will "root" for their team, the New York Giants, as the team plays against the Chicago Cubs for the 1908 National League pennant title. It is a fierce battle and Katie does everything she can to help "cheer up the boys," including cheering, telling the umpire that he is wrong, and singing a song which begins: "Take me out to the ball game."

In addition to providing an entertaining view of the story behind this famous baseball song, the author of this book also gives an account of this 1908 game, focusing in particular on one player, Christy Mathewson. Christy was a man whom everyone hoped would help the New York Giants win the pennant. The reader is also given an enormous amount of background information about baseball in general, about the food that fans like to eat as they watch the action, about the famous Polo Grounds baseball field, and much more.

The artwork in the book is beautifully illustrated in luminous colors, and it perfectly captures the atmosphere of the times helping the reader get a sense of the excitement that filled the air when Christy Mathewson pitched for the Giants and when baseball truly was "the national pastime."

In the back of the book the author also provides further information about the rest of his story and includes the score to Jack Norworth?s song.