The full title of the British children’s book reads: A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, Intended for the Instruction and Amusement of Little Master Tommy and Pretty Miss Polly With Two Letters from Jack the Giant Killer. Generally considered the first children’s book, it includes rhymes for each of the letters of the alphabet. The pocket-sized book was marketed with a ball for boys and a pincushion for girls. Popular in England, the book was re-published in Colonial America in 1762.
The book was published with woodcuts of many period games, and included a rhyme entitled “Base-Ball.”
The Ball once struck off,
Away flies the Boy,
To the next destin’d Post,
And then Home with Joy.
Though this is the first known reference to “base-ball” in print, it was actually referring to “rounders,” a game played in England since the Tudor period. Rounders was described as “…a striking and fielding team game, which involves hitting a small hard leather-cased ball with a round wooden or metal bat and then running around four bases in order to score.”
In the book, Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game (2005), American baseball historian, David Block, argues that rounders and early base-ball were regional variants of each other and that the game’s most direct antecedents are the English games of “stool-ball” and “tut-ball.”
The game was brought by immigrants to North America where the modern version developed. By the late 19th century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Today, baseball is also popular in parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and East Asia, particularly in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Build a Four Seasons Tree Stand as useful classroom decoration or interactive notebook project with your students! ESL House and Community Places craft-activities are not only fun folding activities, they’re excellent 3D references in class! Wall maps offer a visual opportunity for language building exercises you’re sure to use year in and year out! Check out these and more fun activities in Donald’s English Classroom!