This is the Game

This is the Game[Get this book on]

This is the swish!
as the pitch whizzes by

from the mound to the plate
in the blink of an eye.

From its beginning, as a pickup game played in alleyways, to the fan-filled stadiums of the major leagues, baseball has played a rich role in American history.

In this glorious tribute to our nation's favorite pastime, rich verse and vibrant illustrations bring the game of baseball to action-packed life.


In this picture-book celebration of baseball, aspects of the game are described in verse and illustrated with, bold double-page spreads. The stand-out illustrations, set in the 1920s and ’30s, feature images of American streets and stadiums of the time and capture the excitement of the sport, and each picture is striking. Many scenes show heroic figures in the foreground, posed against a misty backdrop of a crowded ball park. Other pictures show people gathered around a radio, listening to a game, as well as kids playing their own version of the game, stick ball, on crowded urban streets. Both words and pictures reinforce the fact that baseball was shamefully segregated during this time period, and while many books introduce the national pastime to young readers, the welcome twist here is this title’s historical perspective. Grades K-3. --Todd Morning


This Is the Game from Publishers Weekly

Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander, illus. by Owen Smith, Harper, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-055522-1
Paired with the same kind of "House That Jack Built"–style couplets seen in Shore and Alexander's This Is the Dream, Smith's dramatically lit paintings honor baseball's enduring legacy. The title phrase inaugurates lyrical verse about the sport's origins ("This is the pastime, a new kind of game/ called ‘rounders,' then ‘town ball,' until it became/ ‘base ball") and about famed players like Babe Ruth ("This is ‘the Babe,' ‘the Sultan of Swat' "). Grounded in an era that preceded domes and stadium lights, this is a book that's likely to inspire requests for repeat readings from starry-eyed baseball lovers who live for the smell of a glove on a cloudless day. Ages 3–8. (Mar.)

Classroom Materials

Download the Picture Search student activity page (PDF)