All Star!: Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever by Jane Yolen, James Burke |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
All Star!: Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever

All Star!: Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever

by Jane Yolen, James Burke
     
 

The Honus Wagner baseball card is the most valuable baseball card of all time! But he was born poor, ugly, bow-legged, and more suited to shoveling coal in his Pennsylvania mining town than becoming the greatest shortstop of all time. How could it happen? Did those strong arms and fast legs turn him into a Pittsburgh Pirate and one of the game's most unforgettable

Overview

The Honus Wagner baseball card is the most valuable baseball card of all time! But he was born poor, ugly, bow-legged, and more suited to shoveling coal in his Pennsylvania mining town than becoming the greatest shortstop of all time. How could it happen? Did those strong arms and fast legs turn him into a Pittsburgh Pirate and one of the game's most unforgettable players?

In this true story, Jane Yolen shows us that wit, talent, perseverance, and passion score more than home runs. As Honus would say, 'How about that!' AUTHOBIO: Jane Yolen lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts.

Jim Burke lives in Beacon, New York.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
[Yolen] is in particularly fine form with her sharp baseball-specific descriptions.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—This smartly crafted picture-book biography brings to life the Hall of Famer whose rare baseball card sold for three million dollars at a 2007 auction. Honus Wagner played for more than 20 seasons, most with the Pittsburgh Pirates; today he is recognized as one of the greatest shortstops ever. Born in 1874 to hardworking German immigrants, he lived in a hardscrabble suburb of Pittsburgh, whose skies were darkened by smoke from the city's many steel and iron mills. After sixth grade, Wagner and his brothers followed their father into the coal mines, where "he worked loading two tons of coal a day for 79 cents." Baseball offered a way out of the mines, and Wagner's natural talent and work ethic won acclaim throughout his career. With a storyteller's voice, Yolen's prose depicts the homely, bow-legged athlete: "it was said he could tie his shoes without bending over." Together with Burke's masterfully composed oil paintings, Yolen limns the athlete's strength of character whether in protecting an umpire from an unruly crowd or teaching his beloved daughters to play the game he loved so much. Another delightful oversize illustration finds Wagner awkwardly posed in a photographer's studio, his huge fielder's glove on his knee, as a group of young fans gather outside. Yolen and Burke have created an affectionate tribute to a baseball great and his times.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Publishers Weekly
How great does a baseball player have to be for his baseball card to sell for nearly $3 million? With emphatic prose and oil paintings that echo the perspectives and palettes of vintage photography and commercial art, Yolen and Burke amply prove that Wagner (1874–1955) did plenty to make that collectible worth every dollar. The treatment of Wagner’s hardscrabble early years—he left school in the sixth grade to work in Pennsylvania’s coal mines and used sandlot games to mold himself into a strong, fast, savvy player—is particularly masterful. What could have been a Bob Costas–like sports soap opera becomes an eloquently understated tribute to that archetypal American combination of stoicism, decency, drive, and sheer talent. Joining the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1900, Wagner went on to set record after record; as Yolen notes, “he did it all without drugs or fancy training programs or million-dollar incentives—just for the pure love of the game.” (True to form, Wagner had his baseball card pulled from the market when he learned it was being sold in cigarette packs.) That’s reason enough to take kids out to this ballgame. Ages 6–8. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
Honus Wagner's life is often summed up in the story of his very rare baseball card. Yolen goes beyond this myth and in an entertaining tall-tale tone tells the story of the young Wagner and how he made the transition from working in the mines to joining the first class in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Burke's rich oils, in muted tones and from a variety of perspectives, are filled with details for the baseball fan to pore over. The first illustration shows the young Hans, called Honus, on his father's knee, his signature bowed legs naked while he plays catch with his brothers. The shadows from the window form a home-plate trapezoid on the rug. Readers see Wagner grow into "Old Reliable," the barrel-chested, long-armed speedster who became such an important part of Pittsburgh baseball. Tales of Wagner's speed (he once carried a teammate over home plate) and determination (he batted away cushions and bottles thrown at an umpire by an angry crowd with complete accuracy) make up the bulk of this volume. An engaging artist's note describes his research, but there is no corresponding author's note to help young baseball enthusiasts parse legend from fact. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399246616
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
03/04/2010
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,120,129
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother.

Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration—folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts.

All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding.

Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille.

With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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