A Ticket to the Pennant: A Tale of Baseball in Seattle

by Mark Holtzen (Author) John Skewes (Illustrator)

A Ticket to the Pennant: A Tale of Baseball in Seattle
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Before the Seattle Mariners, there were the Seattle Rainiers who are playing for the pennant in this story that shows how baseball unites diverse communities. Tour the Seattle of 1955 with Huey as he and his neighborhood cheer for the Seattle Rainiers. If only Huey can find his missing ticket to the game!

This nostalgic and historical picture book follows Huey through South Seattle as he retraces his steps through the charming neighborhood surrounding Sick's Stadium to find his lost ticket--and follows him through the big game to victory. Neighbors from all different backgrounds listen to the game, announced by the beloved Leo Lassen, as Huey visits locally owned shops like the Italian bakery and the Japanese fish market. Featuring the vibrant retro illustrations by Larry Gets Lost series creator John Skewes, Ticket to the Pennant celebrates diversity and will be cherished by baseball fans young and old.

Kirkus Reviews

Sweet and wistful nostalgia for a bygone era.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--In this picture book tale, a boy scurries around his 1950s Seattle neighborhood looking for his lost ticket to the day's championship game. Friendly neighbors and small business owners try to help until Huey discovers that he put it inside his baseball cap. The familiar lost ticket plot is an excuse for a nostalgic visit to this diverse neighborhood, with its mom-and-pop storefronts, Italian bakeries, and Japanese fishmongers. Like Huey, all are fans of their beloved minor league team, the Seattle Rainiers, predecessors to today's Major League Mariners. The 1955 Rainiers contended for the Pacific Coast League's pennant, led by talented players including Bobby Balcena, a fan favorite and the first player of Filipino descent to play in the major leagues (seven games with Cincinnati in 1956). As the ballpark action reaches its climax, announcer Leo Lassen's colorful play-by-play sets the mood: "Not a fingernail left in the stadium, folks." An author's note adds information on Balcena and the history of the Rainiers. Cartoon illustrations with lots of period detail further add to the book's nostalgic look. VERDICT A slight but still appealing story for baseball fans, especially in the Pacific Northwest; this may also interest teachers looking to enliven social studies and U.S. history units.--Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

An SCBWI Summer Reading Pick!

"Skewes' bright, retro-flavored cartoons complement the text, vividly capturing the time and place as well as Huey's changing emotions. Sweet and wistful nostalgia for a bygone era."
—Kirkus Reviews

"A 32 page celebration of a time when baseball was the only game in town."
—KING-5 TV Evening Magazine

"Tour the Seattle of 1955 with Huey as he and his neighborhood cheer for the Seattle Rainiers."
—Seattle PI

"People who know Seattle baseball or the Rainier Valley neighborhood will enjoy this trip down memory lane."
—Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's Media

"This is a book for young sports fans...but also for readers of any age who crave a sense of history and community."
—NW Book Lovers

"[A] great book about a much-loved aspect of the history of our area."
—Gather Here

"[A] gorgeous new picture book...featuring beautiful retro-style illustrations from John Skewes"
—The Winged Pen

"Even if you are not a baseball fan, I promise you will also warm to Mark Holtzen's slice of Seattle history."
—Newbery Honor-Winning Author Kirby Larson

"A Ticket to the Pennant will engage every baseball fan from Seattle on the west coast to Baltimore on the east, and every place between."
Kid Lit Reviews

"Shows how baseball unites diverse communities."
—Northwest Asian Weekly
Mark Holtzen
Mark Holtzen and his family live in Seattle. He teaches third grade and wrote and published The Pig War, a novel set in the San Juan Islands.

John Skewes is a professional illustrator living in Seattle. As the creator and illustrator of the award-winning Larry Gets Lost(R) children's book series, John has followed Larry from the southern tip of Texas to tiny Nome, Alaska, and has been lost several times himself.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
April 20, 2016

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