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Summary: Abner Doubleday grew up in Auburn, New York, in the 1820s and 30s. Abner, his brother Tom, and their friends spent most of their free time playing and making up all sorts of bat and ball games. Though Auburn was a small town, the boys found it to be an exciting place to grow up. Abner’s family, teachers, and friends helped form his character and enabled him to become a famous general, businessman, and … a baseball pioneer. This is a biography for middle readers.
Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book,, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 8 to 12
Young Reader Reaction: This book is very classic and uses practical language to bring to life the story of Abner Doubleday as a young boy. It is reminiscent of the Laura Ingalls Wilders’ books about her own childhood. The characters are well created; their personalities shine through their actions. Each of them is very distinct, showing virtue and passion for what they do. The plot is not particularly suspenseful or complicated, but is rather a simple story of the adventures that occurred in Abner’s everyday life as a child. This book is best suited for readers aged 8 to 12. The language used and the events incorporated into the plot best fit their reading comprehension level. I think that reading this book would greatly benefit them by allowing them to have a glimpse into life in the 19th century and into the origins of baseball. Young readers could learn greatly from Abner’s passion for what he did, which successfully shines through in this book.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is an updated version of the series I read in school many years ago. The narrative focuses on Doubleday's adolescent years and the adventures should more than pique the interest of the targeted reader.
Pros: This is an enjoyable and wholesome story. It is an affirmation that it takes a village to raise a child. The main character is famous among baseball fans. The illustrations embellish the narrative very well.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. Especially if you have a Little League baseball players on your roster. The characters are interesting and believable. Readers will comfortably relate to the adventures of Abner and his friends.
Educational Themes: This book focuses on the childhood experiences of Abner Doubleday. The narrow focus provides insight on how his childhood experiences contributed to his achievement in life. There are opportunities to discuss how the influences of childhood can effect one’s accomplishments. The setting also provides accurate historical and geographical images of life in the mid-nineteenth century America.