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Who's on First? Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Quirk Books (February 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594745900
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594745904
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 11.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 4-Abbott and Costello's beloved comedy routine receives a picture-book treatment, complete with comical illustrations. A tall brown bear plays the coach (Abbott), a chubby white bunny plays the catcher (Costello), and they go back and forth about the oddly named members of their baseball team. "Who's on first. What's on second. I Don't Know's on third." Martz's expressive characters cavort on backgrounds that pop with appealing color. Clever page formatting conveys the pacing that is such an integral part of the laughs. At bottom, though, "Who's on First?" is about auditory humor, so the translation to a visual medium, while it may illuminate the jokes for kids, can't quite capture the magic of the original. Historical notes about the comedians and their routine appear at the end of the book.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MDα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

This famously hilarious Abbott and Costello routine will have adults laughing even before their kids get into the swing. When a new catcher, a white rabbit, is hired for the baseball team, he asks the coach, a brown bear, the names of the other players. So comes the classic response: “Who’s on first. What’s on second. I Don’t Know’s on third.” Confusion reigns as the banter between coach and catcher gets sillier and sillier with each new question and answer. The supercute cartoon illustrations, arranged in both panels and strips against solid backgrounds, only intensify the zaniness. The extended joke could just as easily have been accomplished in 32 pages instead of 40, but, nevertheless, this version easily bats a triple. The idea of turning a comedy sketch into a picture book is a fine one, and one wonders what imitators might be next. Grades K-3. --Cummins, Julie

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It's hysterical; I couldn't stop laughing as I read this book!
Matthew G. Sherwin
This delightful new picture book is based on the classic comedy routine popularized by comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in the 1930's.
Kara Lynn Russell
John Martz illustrates the skit with colorful pictures and cartoon style bubble dialogue.
W. Easley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kara Lynn Russell VINE VOICE on February 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This delightful new picture book is based on the classic comedy routine popularized by comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in the 1930's. According to Wikipedia "In Abbott and Costello's version, the premise of the routine is that Abbott is identifying the players on a baseball team to Costello, but their names and nicknames can be interpreted as non-responsive answers to Costello's questions. In this context, the first baseman is named "Who"; thus, the utterance "Who's on first" is ambiguous between the question ("which person is the first baseman?") and the answer ("The name of the first baseman is 'Who'")."

In this picture book, the coach, a bear, tries to explain the baseball team's lineup to the new player, a rabbit. The characters go through the routine. The pictures are simple and comic, a perfect match to the quick, spare dialogue. At the end of the book are some brief notes about the book and links to videos of the routine online.

The "Who's on First" routine is truly timeless. There is nothing about it that feels dated or old fashioned. How wonderful that this classic piece of American humor is being given new life for a new generation to enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Blackburn on August 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought a few copies of this book for nieces & nephews to read together at a family reunion. They had a good time playing the parts. It is condensed a little bit from the full sketch, leaving out the part with "When you pay the players, Who gets the money?" "Right, every dollar of it. Sometimes his wife picks it up" "Who's wife?" "Yes."
There may be some other omissions I didn't catch, but if you want a book that little kids will like to read aloud, buy this. Better yet, buy a pair.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Caruso VINE VOICE on May 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The quick version:
-Comedy classic for all ages
-Illustrations bring the dialogue to life for modern kids
-Illustrations make the frustration of the communication and the misunderstandings more accessible than the audio or even film/video renditions.
-Great gift for any child or parent. I'd give this as a baby gift to friends who are baseball and/or comedy fans.

"Who's On First?" by Abbott and Costello and illustrated by John Martz takes the "best comedy sketch of the 20th century" (as declared by Time Magazine) and hits it home for the kids of the 21st century.

"Who's On First?" is a classic sketch comedy bit that I had heard many times throughout my childhood and as an adult who requires captions all every TV or movie I watch, it's no surprise that this picture book edition of that classic would appeal to me but it also appeals to my child who has auditory processing glitches as well and nearly everything he does we have to put into written, tangible form for him to really comprehend the information so he can respond to it.

The illustrations are clear, concise, cheerful and the graphics are simple and bold and allow the confusion of the dialogue to be clearly mapped out and accessible. It's a joy to share this with my son and watch as he can finally appreciate the back and forth and the frustration present in other presentation formats (audio/film/video) but not completely clear to some folks with auditory challenges or folks who are very rigid and rule based and interpret things very literally.

I love Who's On First now more than I did before I had this visual map of it that John Martz provides and it's pretty fantastic that it honors the brilliance of Abbott & Costello while helping a whole new generation of youngsters (and a few of us older "kids" too) to really get the joke.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JMack VINE VOICE on April 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Following the legendary routine staged by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, the book brings the routine to a young audience. John Martz masterfully illustrates pages with colorful pictures and bubble dialogue. Visual emphasis on certain words makes it a great selection for oral reading.

The reader follows the mounting frustration as the two characters banter back and forth to create a real study on how easily communications can become distorted. It is a real world lesson. Although young readers might not get the nuances of the miscommunication, they may still find it amusing and enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Valerie A. Baute on February 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Abbott and Costello's "who's on First" routine is probably my favorite comedy ever made. Some would think that makes me biased toward this book. I feel that it makes me quite the critic. I saw this book come on our new book cart at the library where I work. When I read the title, I was both hopeful that it was the actual original comedy and scared that it was. I was worried it wouldn't work as a picture book. Oh my, it does!

I agree with Amazon that the age range is 6-9. Sure, you will get some younger children that get it, but a lot probably wouldn't. What's the fun of explaining the whole point of the book? Who wants to say "who's on first? Get it? Who is the name of the person that is on first." because honestly, you would probably have a lot of eyes looking at you with borderline boredom. The older the kids get, the more they will understand it on their own.

Told in thought bubbles, this picture book will appeal to kids who like graphics. The pictures are simple but still cute. I was very happy with how true to the comedy it is, but it definitely still works as a picture book for older kids. At the end, you will get a little history lesson on Abbott and Costello. I even learned a thing or two about the characters who made my favorite comedy skit.
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