Monday, April 22, 2013

Non-Fiction Monday: Sports Illustrated Kids Full Count: Top 10 Lists of Everything in Baseball

by Sports Illustrated Kids. 96 p. Time Home Entertainment Inc., September, 2012.  9781618930064. (Purchased)

As I sat at my computer attempting to describe this book, the word trifecta popped into my head because it embodies three kid-appealing attributes: it's colorful; it's about baseball; it has lists/ trivia. Then I thought, wrong sport. Then I contemplated possible baseball analogies but it's too early in the morning and I'm not that big a fan. Then I realized that I don't really know what a trifecta is because it occurred to me that I might be mixing it up with triple crown, which is where a horse wins the three big races in one year. So I did what any self-respecting librarian does. I looked it up. It still fits. Sorta.

SI Full Count is big, not huge. It's big enough to stand out in a crowd and small enough to fit easily on a shelf, thank you SI. It's colorful. The cover, sporting a huge, bright white baseball, with raised, bright red seams, screams, "Pick me up and touch me!" The back cover promises: the top 10 oddest deliveries, the top 10 rivalries, the top 10 mascots, the top 10 sluggers, the top 10 ugly uniforms, top 10 families and much more! The end-papers are appropriately, the distinctive plaid mown outfield even though the color is wrong. The an unidentified catcher glares out behind his mitt on the cover page which, on second thought, is kind of creepy. I mean, who wants to be intimidated when opening a book? The following page, featuring the adorable Lou Seal, mascot of the San Francisco Giants is definitely more welcoming (and captioned). The double-page table of contents brackets a shot Derek Jeter's photogenic grimace and pigeon-toed stance as he rockets a ball presumably to first base. 

Thirty-six lists fill ninety-six pages and are featured in a variety of fonts, appropriately beginning with "Leadoff Hitters," and ending with "Closers." Sandwiched in-between are titles like, "Hit Robbers," and "Most Intimidating," and "Facial Hair," and "Caps." The book lends itself to browsing. It is also appealing to casual fans, such as myself, who knows the basics and a bit of history. Die-hard fans and baseball history buffs will enjoy it as well, if only to argue about who made the lists and who was omitted. 

While attributes of some of the lists are easily calculated, many seem up for debate. Top ten caps? Facial hair? Still, the pages are filled with photos and trivia and sure won't sit on the shelf very long.

I first learned about the book at the PTO book fair. It's held in my library and I get to spend two and a half days helping my students browse and choose books. I also get to spend two and a half days trying not to buy nearly every title at the fair. Three copies of Full Count sat on the table calling to me. I said to myself, "Leave it. If one is available on the last day of the sale, then buy one." All three sold on day one. Phew. I spend enough of my own money on books for my library. So I put the title in my book order.

We already own another of SI's big-format sports book - SI Kids All Access. This doesn't sit much.

In searching for a cover image, I just discovered other interesting titles, like this one:

Non-fiction Monday is hosted today by A Mom's Spare Time. Pop over there to see what informational books other bloggers are highlighting.


  1. The book fair must be the perfect opportunity to judge the popularity of books before you purchase them! As a baseball fan, I'm glad this one is a hit. (pun intended)

  2. This is the kind of book that I inhaled as a kid in the 70s. With the proliferation of video games, I'm not sure children are as sports oriented as I thought we were in my day. Of course that could be the old man in me talking. Thank you for sharing!