Brothers at Bat by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Steven Salerno
In one family from New Jersey, there were 12 baseball-playing brothers: the Acerra brothers. All of the brothers played high school baseball and their high school had an Acerra on it 22 years in a row! In 1938, the oldest nine brothers formed their own semi-pro baseball team. Their father coached the team and they played on dirt fields that were littered in rocks. Each of the brothers had a different skill set than the others. Some were slow runners but great players, others posed for the cameras naturally, one was a great pitcher that people still talk about today. But all of them supported one another. Then came World War II and the team disbanded as six of the brothers headed off to war. Happily, all six brothers returned from war. The brothers played their last game together as a team in 1952. By that time, they were the longest-playing all-brother baseball team ever. In 1997, the brothers were honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Vernick shares this story of brothers who played together for most of their lives with a real sense of wonder and amazement at what they achieved. The story celebrates their strong brotherhood and sense of family as well as the love of baseball. Vernick offers all sorts of details that really create a vivid picture of the family dynamic and their lives.
Salerno uses a vintage style for the illustrations that firmly roots this picture book in the time period. They are colorful and action filled.
A great non-fiction picture book for baseball fans, brothers, or people who enjoy a little sports with their history. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from library copy.