Written by Dave Hammer
Illustrated by Alex M. Clark
(Word Association Publishers, 2012)
Boys, dads and baseball. There’s a reason this is a common combination in children’s stories. So many boys have strong, positive memories of breaking in a baseball glove, playing catch with dad in the backyard. The associations continue at the baseball diamond.
In many ways, Your Time Will Come follows the typical baseball story structure: a boy isn’t “good enough” and becomes a benchwarmer until the final inning of the final game of the season, score tied, two outs. Suddenly, all eyes are on the one boy who has been chronically overlooked. As familiar as the setup is, I still found myself routing for Chad at bat. The drama is always there.
The focus of this story is not Chad’s interactions with the coach or his teammates. Instead, author Dave Hammer sticks to the father-son relationship and their connection to baseball which begins to grow while Chad is still in the crib. All along, Chad’s desire to play baseball is palpable. It’s the execution that needs to be nurtured. For every setback Chad experiences, his father is there to offer encouragement: “Your time will come.”
Hammer adds a clever backup supporter to echo and illuminate the father’s words. Indeed, this is the first book I’ve read in which the “@” key on a computer becomes a character. While boys will appreciate the technological tie-in, fathers will more fully understand the computer key’s own story.
The illustrations of Alex Clark are a true highlight of Your Time Will Come. They have a nostalgic feel, in part based on the style of the uniforms. As one views the illustrations, one thinks of a simpler time which still bore the pressures and yearnings to belong and to succeed. Moreover, parents will identify with the expressive, irrepressible look on the father’s face as he stands over infant Chad’s crib and dreams of his son’s future.
Your Time Will Come is as much a book for boys as it is a thank you gift to fathers from grown sons who look back fondly on precious moments spent with dad. Hallmark might not like the suggestion, but this book would be far more meaningful and memorable than a greeting card. Father’s Day is less than five months away.