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Book Review: Abner Doubleday, Boy Baseball Pioneer


Reading Level

Ages 9-12

Other Books in This Series

• Amelia Earhart
• William Henry Harrison
• Lew Wallace
• Juliette Low
• James Whitcomb Riley
• Eddie Rickenbacker
• Mahalia Jackson
• George Rogers Clark
John Hancock
Phillis Wheatley

The 11th book in the Young Patriots Series describes the youth of the man who tradition holds invented the American game of baseball. His name was Abner Doubleday.

Some controversy exists about Doubleday's actually being the inventor of the game, and the book's author, Montrew Dunham, doesn't call young Abner the originator of the game; he merely says that he and his brothers and friends liked to play the game.

The game of "Ball" features prominently in the book, but it is by no means the only topic of discussion. Various episodes in the book showcase Abner's penchant for adventure and good-naturedness. In one memorable sequence, he and the other boys track down a chest of stolen goods and keep the thieves from returning to claim it. Abner stays all by himself in the forest, awaiting the return of his friends and their fathers, while he is convinced that the robbers are nearby.

The book is also a vivid portrait of life in the still relatively young republic. Abner's father gets elected to Congress and has to spend many weeks away from his family, in the nation's capital. Important visitors from Washington, D.C., and from other Eastern towns pay visits to Auburn, where the Doubleday family lived. The book ends with a fateful visit of Abner to his cousins—in Cooperstown.

As with the other books in this series, the action is exciting and the characters vivid. The reader really gets a sense of what made these boys tick and the spirit of adventure that they had.

The illustrations, by series regular Cathy Morrison, are as good as ever. The faces and places really jump off the page, adding to the reader's enjoyment.

As with the other books in the series also, this book has a helpful glossary and timeline of Doubleday's life, along with a Fun Facts section that further illuminates the story of this fine young American.

One other point: Some of the early rules of baseball (such as the fact that you could get a baserunner out by hitting him with the ball) are vividly illustrated in the book—yet another glimpse into the American past.

Buy this book from Amazon.com

 
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