That Sweet Diamond: Baseball Poems by Paul B. Janeczko, illlustrated by Carole Katchen, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, 1998.
That Sweet Diamond, sweet as only a baseball fan could know~Paul Janeczko has created a poetic memorial for America's favorite past time: Baseball!
Fans reading this collection will immediately smell the hot dogs, hear the crack of the bat, feel the smack! in their hands of a foul ball flown up in the stands. Memories and first impressions will awaken: first ball game, first MLB game, first win, first pennant...Paul Janeczko has given us poems to cover the beginning of the game with the purchases of pennants, scorecards, and hot dogs, to "A Curse Upon the Pitcher", to a double play, to the clean up after the game.
Especially poignant is the poem celebrating the "little old baseball lady" which every team seems to have, a fan for life, through good seasons and bad, who says, "Leaving before the last out...is like dying before your time."
Artist Carol Katchen has used softly muted pastels to illustrate the poems in a manner that reminds one of a dream. Each poem has an illustration on its facing page, bringing to life the words and rhythm of the verse.
That Sweet Diamond is a collection of poems commemorating the nostalgic feel of baseball that both fans and non-fans of any age can enjoy. That Sweet Diamond is a definite home run.