Bill Pennant, Babe Ruth, and Me

Bill Pennant, Babe Ruth, and Me

by Timothy Tocher
     
 

At the start of the 1920 baseball season, 16-year-old Hank Cobb is assigned to train the New York Giants’ new mascot, a Mexican wildcat named Bill Pennant. Bill’s not too trainable, though, even with the help of sardines and mice. And if Hank can’t handle a cat, how can he handle his next charge, an undisciplined slugger for the Yankees named Babe

Overview

At the start of the 1920 baseball season, 16-year-old Hank Cobb is assigned to train the New York Giants’ new mascot, a Mexican wildcat named Bill Pennant. Bill’s not too trainable, though, even with the help of sardines and mice. And if Hank can’t handle a cat, how can he handle his next charge, an undisciplined slugger for the Yankees named Babe Ruth? Ruth’s manager asks Hank to keep an eye on Ruth, and since both teams play at the same stadium, it’s doable. But is it wise? A disastrous “road trip” to Coney Island lands both Babe and Hank in hot water with their respective managers. Hank, who’s fallen under Babe’s spell, walks out on the Giants, determined to ditch school and become a big-league ballplayer. But another, far more serious incident, causes Hank to rethink his priorities. Evocative descriptions of the sights, sounds, and personalities of baseball’s heyday add to this exciting story about loyalty, responsibility, and the rules of the game — both on and off the field.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 5-9

It's 1920, and Hank Cobb, 16, is thrilled that his guardian, John McGraw, wants him to help out with the Giants' newest team member. Thinking that he is going to assist in breaking in a rookie, Hank discovers that instead he has the responsibility of taming the team's newest good luck charm, a Mexican wildcat named Bill Pennant. The animal does not travel well, so Hank is stuck in New York when the team goes on the road. Since the Giants and the Yankees share a stadium, it isn't long bef ore Hank catches the eye of Yankees manager Miller Huggins, who thinks that he might have a calming effect on Babe Ruth. By the time McGraw returns, Hank and the Babe have developed a friendly relationship, and McGraw sees Hank's work for the Yankees as a betrayal. This sequel to Chief Sunrise, John McGraw, and Me (Cricket, 2004) is every bit as engaging as its predecessor. Tocher deftly combines a fast-moving plot, fascinating sports history, and Hank's efforts to be loyal to the people he respects on both teams. Sports figures of the period fairly leap off the pages, and Tocher's treatment of Ray Chapman's unexpected death from Carl Mays's pitch is as sobering now as it was the day it happened. This is a must-read for fans of Chief Sunrise , but it easily stands alone. An author's note clarifies what is factual. Give this compelling story to readers who are ready for something a little more complex than Dan Gutman's "Baseball Card Adventure" books (HarperCollins).-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Kirkus Reviews
1920 is Babe Ruth's first year with the Yankees, who are sharing the Polo Grounds with John McGraw's Giants. The eccentric McGraw has acquired a wildcat he has named Bill Pennant, and he sets Hank Cobb, the young hero of Tocher's previous vintage baseball novel (Chief Sunrise, John McGraw, and Me, 2004), the task of training him. During the course of the season, Hank joins Babe Ruth and the great baseball writer Damon Runyon on some wild adventures. He also witnesses the only game-related death of a player, when Ray Chapman is struck in the head by a Carl Mays pitch. The author once again seamlessly blends fact and fiction. He recreates the era with scrupulous attention to its syntax and slang, as well as details of daily life. Ruth, McGraw and the other historical figures come alive for readers, and the fictional Hank is a sympathetic, fully developed character whose thoughts and choices are completely in sync with his time and place. An author's note provides further information about both real and imagined events. A pennant winner. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812627558
Publisher:
Cricket Books
Publication date:
03/12/2009
Pages:
184
Sales rank:
341,941
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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