Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review of the new children’s book “Who’s on First” by Quirk Books

The new children’s book “Who’s on First” by Quirk Books,  is very faithful to the classic routine and thus is an enjoyable read for both child and Abbott and Costello fan alike. In 1999, Time magazine named:  “Who’s on First”, the Best Comedy Sketch of the 20th century. And in 1956 a gold record of "Who's on First?" was placed in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. A video (taken from The Naughty Nineties) now plays continuously on screens at the Hall. The routine has been performed on stage, radio, record, board game, television, film and now as a children’s book.

The book’s story is based on the classic comedy routine “Who’s on First” by Abbott and Costello with illustrations by John Martz. The story follows the exploits of a rabbit named Costello and a bear named Abbott as they discuss the names of the players on a baseball team tha the rabbit (Costello) is going to join. As with the classic routine, the more that the bear tells the rabbit the players name the more the rabbit gets confused. The routine lends itself wonderfully to a children’s book as the banter between the rabbit and bear is fast paced and without a great deal of dialogue. This allows the illustrator the luxury of drawing the characters with exaggerated expressions while advancing story with few words on the page.

John Martz has done a wonderful job illustrating this book.  He has used wonderful looking  characters to represent Abbott and Costello and thus captured the essence of this great comedy duo.. He has also done a great job of illustrating the routine to allow the younger  reader the ability  to follow along more easy. By drawing a baseball diamond with arrows to illustrate which players are on which base he has made  following  along to a very intricate comedy routine a much easier task.

This is one children’s book that can be enjoyable to both the child and the reader. Although the routine may be a little too confusing  for younger children to fully understand , They can still enjoy the illustrations and the spirit of the story. However it is the reader who gets the most out of the book. Reading this classic routine to a child allows the reader to go back in time when they first heard Abbott and Costello do the routine in their childhood.

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