Lipman Pike: America's First Home Run King

Lipman Pike: America's First Home Run King

5.0 2
by Richard Michelson, Zachary Pullen
     
 

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In the mid 1800s the sport of baseball was working its way across the United States. Amateur teams were springing up and in 1858 the National Association of Base Ball Players was formed. Young men were eager to show their prowess on the field and in the batter's box. Lipman Pike's father, a Dutch immigrant, runs a small haberdashery in Brooklyn, New York, though Lip… See more details below

Overview

In the mid 1800s the sport of baseball was working its way across the United States. Amateur teams were springing up and in 1858 the National Association of Base Ball Players was formed. Young men were eager to show their prowess on the field and in the batter's box. Lipman Pike's father, a Dutch immigrant, runs a small haberdashery in Brooklyn, New York, though Lip is more interested in watching the ball players than working behind the counter. His mother doesn't approve -- Jewish boys should be paying attention to more sensible matters. But when Lip is barely a teenager, he's invited to join the Nationals Junior Club and play first base. When he hits his first pitch over the right fielder's head, Lip knows baseball is the sport for him. Award-winning author Richard Michelson chronicles the meteoric rise of one of baseball's earliest (and unsung) champions. Richard Michelson's poetry and children's books have been listed among the year's best books by The New Yorker, the New York Public Library, and the Jewish Book Council. His A is for Abraham: A Jewish Alphabet won the 2009 Sydney Taylor Award Silver Medal. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. Zachary Pullen's picture-book illustrations have won awards and garnered starred reviews. He has been honored several times with acceptance into the prestigious Society of Illustrators juried shows and Communication Arts Illustration Annual of the best in current illustration. Zak lives in Wyoming.

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Editorial Reviews

Pamela Paul
Pullen's painted portraits beautifully capture character and emotion…
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Michelson and Pullen recreate a slice of immigrant life in mid–19th-century Brooklyn in their story of Jewish baseball player Lipman Pike, one of the first "professional" athletes. The son of a Dutch haberdasher, Pike discovered an early knack for playing ball, and, despite ethnic discrimination, he was invited (by Boss Tweed) to play for the New York Mutuals before joining the Troy Haymakers, a professional league. Pullen's expressive paintings feature lots of mid-action moments and exaggerated angles, and are populated by characters with facial expressions that feel like affectionate caricatures. Readers should gain a vivid picture of Pike and the fledging days of baseball. Ages 6–10. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Maggie Chase
The first aspect of this book that draws the reader in is the art. Almost as if the pictures were first rendered with a fish-eye lens, the heads of the characters are disproportionally big, helping us focus on the expressions of the "players" in this brief account of Lip Pike's stunning baseball career in the nascent stages of the sport. Not only did he pursue a dream that was unheard of by his immigrant parents, but he also dealt with prejudice and doubt about his loyalties and religion. The text is brief, leaving big chunks of his life for further investigative pursuits. Some of the story that is told offers the chance to use inference skills, beginning with the opening scene that is set in Lip's father's store, which looks like a candy or apothecary shop. It is only when we read on the next page (another paragraph that also requires inference skills,) that socks are also sold in the store. Much later in the story, we are introduced to the word haberdashery. There are other places where the reader must make some great leaps to fill in the missing information, but it's not necessarily a bad thing; inference skills are part and parcel to the whole of reading comprehension and the story of this man's life is engaging and compelling. The two sets of end notes provide some of the information not included in the fictional account, such as descriptions of a few more of Lip's feats, and an historical look at the sport and the era. This book briefly touches upon the anti-Semitism of the time as well as the life of an immigrant to the U.S. Reviewer: Maggie Chase
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Michelson and Pullen offer a fast-paced introduction to a pioneering ballplayer and a rollicking glimpse of baseball's early years. In the late 1860s, leagues of teams were just forming and the practice of paying grown men to play a child's game was still new. Born to Jewish immigrants from Holland, Lipman Pike and his brother helped in their parents' Brooklyn haberdashery. As they studied for their bar mitzvahs, they found time to hone their baseball skills. Playing "Base" was a way to fit in with their neighbors. Eventually, word spread of Lip's batting prowess and speed, and he was invited to join a team. He was offered $20 a week to play in Philadelphia, much to his parents' disbelief: "Who ever heard of anyone being paid to chase a ball?" It wasn't easy to win a place on the team; his teammates were jealous of his salary, and noting that he was a Jew from Brooklyn, wondered if he would remain loyal to the Athletics. He was voted off the team, but found a place with another one and went on to a successful career. An author's note adds facts about this period in baseball history, along with background on the rise of Jewish immigration. Pullen's oil paintings capture all the lively goings-on. Large-headed characters, expressive and intense, crowd the pages. Young fans will enjoy this vivid glimpse into baseball's early years, and the story of an unsung hero of that era.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781133485377
Publisher:
Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date:
02/08/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
32
File size:
4 MB
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

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