Friday, November 27, 2020

At the OLD Ballgame! Mr. Putter and Tabby Drop the Ball by Cynthia Rylant

Mr. Putter and his good cat Tabby love their naps--naps in the tomato garden, naps in the porch swing, naps in the hammock, even in the car! One day Mr. Putter wakes up from his nap with a new thought.

"We nap too much!" Mr. Putter said to Tabby. "We need a sport!"

Mr. Putter heads down to the basement and comes back with his old baseball mitt. Tabby is awake now and worried. Her frisky days are well behind her!
"We need a TEAM!" declared Mr. Putter.

When in doubt, Mr. Putter always calls his neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry.

Mrs. Teaberry knows just the team for Mr. Putter!
"The Yankee Doodle Dandies!" she says. "You will feel young on that team!

We'll both play!"

Now that he's got the ball rolling, so to speak, Mr. Putter begins to have second thoughts. What about his bad knees that don't want to bend? Is he too old for baseball?

When they arrive the game is in full swing. There is a base runner heading for home plate. He is running, sort of, very, very slowly. The crowd waits and waits and waits and waits.
"I feel pretty young!" said Mr. Putter.

The Yankee Doodle Dandies are happy to have some fresh, new recruits and put Mr. Putter in the outfield and Mrs. Teaberry in at shortstop, commanding her good dog Zeke to STAY in the dugout. Tabby is already ready for a nap.

But when a ball is hit toward Mrs. Teaberry, Zeke runs into the infield and grabs it. GLOMP! The rival team scores a run while Mrs. Teaberry and the Dandies chase Zeke all around the infieldto retrieve the ball. Zeke is benched!

Then the next batter hits a grounder into the outfield, rolling right toward Mr. Putter, who charges to field that ball. It's right at his feet. He can save the game for the Dandies! But...
His knees would not bend.

But it's Zeke to the rescue. With a timely assist, he glomps the ball and puts it right into Mr. Putter's glove. And Mr. Putter throws the ball hard, right to the catcher. The runner is out! The crowd goes wild!

Even benchwarmer Tabby wakes up, in Cynthia Rylant's beginning reader book,
Mr. Putter and Tabby Drop the Ball (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Artist Arthur Howard's jolly comic illustrations, done with verve in watercolor and gouache, add much to the fun, as Mr. Putter, Mrs. Teaberry, Zeke and Tabby celebrate with ... what else...a nap!

Kirkus Reviews calls it "A home run!"

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