Premise: Take comedy legends Abbott & Costello’s classic sketch explaining who is playing the different positions on a baseball team, illustrate it like a whimsical children’s book, and that’s what you get with Who’s On First?. Costello thinks Abbott is using pronouns when talking about baseball players, while Abbott thinks Costello understands that those are the actual names of the players.
Themes: Who’s On First? centers around the misunderstanding between two people confusing the proper names of baseball players with pronouns that have identical spellings and pronunciations. Hilarity ensues.
Pros: The illustrations of John Martz make Abbott and Costello’s interchange easier to understand without taking away from the humor between the two comedians. In fact, the art helps make it more accessible to a younger audience. I especially love the illustrations with arrows as the characters explain where the ball is traveling between the players. The comedic timing from the original sketch is kept very much in tact through the fun illustrations.
Cons: Even though Who’s On First? is marketed as a children’s picture book, children might get confused with this humorously confusing interaction, especially if they have little or no baseball knowledge. The text is basically lifted directly from the Abbott and Costello sketch with no new content other than the illustrations, which really isn’t much of a con unless you are looking for more.
Recommendations: Baseball and comedy fans will love Who’s On First? as they reminisce about Abbott and Costello’s famous comedy bit and enjoy this refreshing new take. The comic adaptation is done in a way that is helpful to young readers and adds a bit of cartoon humor into the mix. I will personally love reading this book over and over, and it is something I will love reading to my son as he grows a little older, perhaps even waiting until he can read it himself and knows a little more about the game of baseball to appreciate it fully. It will be fun to read it along with him out loud so he can get the full comedic effect. But Who’s On First? is not just for young readers, as most baseball fans will especially love this cartoon tribute to the comedy legends.