Thursday, February 28, 2013

An International Pastime

from Take Me Out to the Yakyu

In Take Me Out to the Yakyu, author-artist Aaron Meshon shows that, at least for the boy narrator's family, baseball is as big a pastime in Japan as it is in America. The game becomes a lens through which we learn about the boy's life, his love of baseball, and the way that it unites the two sides of his family. 

Fans of baseball will recognize the title's play on "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," while those new to the sport will be able to figure out the meaning of "Yakyu" from its placement deeper inside the book. Aaron Meshon uses unfamiliar words in a context that allows children to figure them out through a mirror structure. We watch the boy head to the stadium with his American pop pop and to the dome with his Japanese ji ji.

We also see how fans in the two countries show their support (a foam #1 hand in the U.S., a noisemaker in Japan), what they eat in the stadium (hot dogs and peanuts in the stadium, soba noodles and edamame in the dome).  Meshon keeps the structure consistent, so readers always know from which side of the Pacific the boy makes his observations. 

Meshon celebrates the commonalities of and the differences between two cultures, and how one baseball-loving boy brings them all together.


  1. Thanks for the awesome review of " Take me out to the Yakyu" Jenny. I stumbled upon your great blog and will follow it now for sure! I'm very excited to be in the world of children's books now! take care and thanks again! - aaron

  2. Hi Aaron, What a terrific approach to both baseball and Japan! Are you getting excited for opening day? I can almost feel spring in the air. Congratulations on the publication of your home run hit! All best, Jenny