Fuzzy Baseball Vol. 5: Baseballoween by John Steven Gurney

Between watching Arsenal play in person (twice!) and the Women’s World Cup, it has been a satisfyingly sports-mad week for me. Why not keep the streak going with this adorable graphic novel featuring anthropomorphic animals getting together to play baseball?

The Fernwood Valley Fuzzies are enjoying the start of their off-season before they figure out what to do once the weather gets cold. They’re all gathered to watch Game 7 of the World Series live when their wistful discussion about playing more is overheard by a bat named Count Flappula. He asks if the Fuzzies will come play one last game before the year ends, against his team, the Graveyard Ghastlies.

Turns out that the Ghastlies only get together one night each year, on Halloween night, naturally. After the game, they’re looking forward to having the Fuzzies for dinner. Or, as Flappula quickly explains, having the Fuzzies as their guests for dinner. Certainly not as the meal, chortle chortle.

The cheerful Fuzzies are definitely up for a friendly before hibernation season, but even they are unsettled to arrive at the Ghastlies’ home field and discover that it’s a graveyard next to a creepy forest. Will they be able to enjoy a good game and a great feast in the company of folks some might consider creepy… or will something far more sinister befall our furry heroes?

This volume is chock-full of gags even beyond the expected animal and baseball jokes. It reminded me of old Mad magazine jokes, tho rated strictly G (or perhaps even Y7.) Much like modern animated films, there are slightly more sophisticated jokes for grown-ups woven in with the humorous kid-appropriate shenanigans. I had a good time reading it.

The art is delightful, with lots of soft pastel colors bringing the picture-book-perfect animals to life. Even tho the setting is mostly gloomy, in keeping with the theme, John Steven Gurney’s illustrations keep everything light and cheerful. This is a fun read for anyone who enjoys stories about baseball and/or wholesome animals behaving like humans.

Fuzzy Baseball Vol. 5: Baseballoween by John Steven Gurney was published July 18 2023 by Papercutz and is available from all good booksellers, including

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