Take Me Out to the Yakyu

byAaron Meshon

{published 2013, by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, and imprint of Simon & Schuster}

When I first heard of this book at SCBWI LA last summer, it was some art on a slide at the front of the room. I was in the back row, and I was hooked. I’ve been waiting for it ever since, and I love that its release was in eager anticipation of baseball’s opening days.

{Sidenote: Cano + Jay-Z? Interesting collaboration. I’ll always be a Chipper Jones girl myself. Middle school scrapbooks and everything. Really.}

But this book. It’s a visual juxtaposition of baseball traditions in America and Japan. A global pastime.


On the left, a kiddo goes to the park with his Pop Pop, and on the right, he hangs out with his ji ji.

{Sidenote again: I had the world’s greatest Pop Pop – no offense to our bright eyed young’n in this book. He always called that Chipper Jones fella Skipper.}

The sweet story arc socked me in the gut a little, because of my own fondness for family trips to the baseball stadium. Aaron Meshon’s saturated colors that are full of life vibrate with the energy of a game. The American blues and the Japanese reds contrast beautifully on each spread, too.


One of the reasons I love baseball so much is its balance of sheer intensity and quiet, and the roar of a rallied-up crowd. The composition of the illustrations echo that rise and fall – some are fully rendered to the edge, color spilling off the page. Some are contained in a quieter space, bordered by white.


And I love this – a subtle repetition of a circle, the stitched up sphere of a baseball. It even shows up on the back of the title page. I’m blanking on my librarian vocabulary – the verso, is it? That part where all the important cataloging information lives.


It’s here, too. Those cheeks!


And this – baseball is exhausting.

So get this book. It’s a home run. (And a slam dunk, too – even though that’s the wrong sport.)


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14 thoughts on “Take Me Out to the Yakyu

  1. What a great concept for a book! Thanks so much for sharing some of the pages~ it looks fantastic. I wish my baseball playing stepson was about ten years younger so I could get this for him, but I’m sure I can think of someone else to buy it for :)

  2. It’s baseball season so perfect timing. My sons will love this book. Going to look for it now.

  3. {Sidenote again: I had the world’s greatest Pop Pop – no offense to our bright eyed young’n in this book. He always called that Chipper Jones fella Skipper.}

    Carter! You made me all teary-eyed. This book seems amazing on SO many different levels. It has that emotional component, the bonding element, but also the language and culture piece that I love, love, love so much. And of course all those design concepts that you break down so well. =) I should get this!

    Love this one.



  4. Thanks, love the colors and the layout! In Japan, baseball games are RI-O-TOUS!! You can hear the crowd noises for miles. As a librarian, we always just called the page with the publication info the “CIP page” (cataloging in publication). [ "Verso" just means the reverse side, as in left-hand page, back of a coin/page.] Thanks again for highlighting another winner.

    • Oh, fun…you’ve been?! I’d love to.

      And yes, THE CIP! Duh. Been too long, thank you for the reminder!

      Also, I saw your article in the SCBWI Bulletin about how you submitted your mostly wordless book…SO cool. Thanks for that!

      • Yup. Spent a month on an author tour to US Military base schools. (My hubby just got to hang out!!!) It was wonderful. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

        Also, thanks for the compliment about the article in the Bulletin. I’ve had tons of folks ask me about how to submit a wordless book — if you’re not the illustrator. So I thought it would be a good subject to share.

        Continue your good work!!

  5. Thank you Carter so very much for the kind review and also noticing the awesome design touches that Ann Bobco at Athenium made! Your review made my day, and sorry for leaving Chipper out! :) Have a great day everyone and Arigatou! ;) aaron meshon

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