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No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season
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No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season

by Fred Bowen, Chuck Pyle (Illustrator)
 

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Ted Williams hit .406 for the season in 1941? a feat not matched since. In this inspirational picture book, authentic sportswriting and rich, classic illustrations bring to life the truly spectacular story of the Red Sox legend, whose hard work and perseverance make him the perfect role model for baseball enthusiasts of all ages.

Overview

Ted Williams hit .406 for the season in 1941? a feat not matched since. In this inspirational picture book, authentic sportswriting and rich, classic illustrations bring to life the truly spectacular story of the Red Sox legend, whose hard work and perseverance make him the perfect role model for baseball enthusiasts of all ages.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/27/2015
"He knew there was no easy way to become the greatest hitter who ever lived," writes Bowen (the All-Star Sports Story series) in this compelling account of slugger Williams's 1941 season. His vigilant practice and minor-league play won Williams a job with the Boston Red Sox, hitting 31 home runs in his rookie season—impressive, yet shy of his .400 batting average goal. Reaching that milestone two years later involved considerable drama: although Williams's average "took off in the cool of the spring and floated above .400 during the heat of the summer," it fell in the fall. Knowing there was "no easy way" to finish the season as a .400 hitter, he faced a tough decision during the final game. That this was the last season before Williams left to fight in WWII adds to the poignancy. Pyle, who used himself as a model for Williams in his artwork, contributes arresting paintings (supplemented by photos) that are at times reminiscent of those of Norman Rockwell and readily convey the emotion of the story, which kids will easily be swept into. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Crack! Imagine the sound of the bat hitting the ball as major-league hitter, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox brought his batting average to .406 at the end of the season. His passion was baseball and he practiced playing through his years in school, the minor-league and then the majors. Ted Williams wasn't satisfied with an easy way to hit .400; he was determined to go all the way. He learned how to determine which pitches to swing at and he practiced smooth, strong swings to constantly improve his batting skills. The story focuses on his journey toward his magnificent feat. Wonderful, color illustrations capture different moments in Williams' career as they lead up to his well-earned moment of a record batting average. In addition, there are a few photographs of Williams. On the back cover, fans will find his baseball statistics. For those readers interested in additional information on about Williams, the author cites a couple resources on the cataloging in publication page. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Bowen's picture-book tribute introduces readers to a baseball great whose strong, smooth swing, eagle eye, and tireless work ethic accompanied him from an impoverished childhood to the major leagues. In his rookie season with the Boston Red Sox, he hit .327, belted out 31 home runs, and earned nicknames like "the Splendid Splinter." In 1941, many players were readying to fight in World War II; Williams would join up once the season finished. Nonetheless, it was "a magic summer for baseball" with Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak and, as the summer wore on, the thrilling possibility that Williams might hit .400 for the season. Red Sox fan Bowen wears his heart on his sleeve, but he captures all of the drama as Williams's pursuit of the record books came down to the final games of the season. Pyle's brilliantly composed paintings, reminiscent of 1940s book illustrations, underscore the baseball action and teem with period details. Newsboys hawk papers on street corners, soda jerks serve up ice-cream cones, and through it all strides the tall, determined figure of Williams. Two-color borders, plenty of white space, and a smattering of black-and-white photos add to the overall appeal, and Williams's 1941 stats are reproduced on the back cover. Together, the text and artwork create a warmly realized portrait of this icon and his significance in baseball history. This winning book should resonate with a wide audience.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
"The Splendid Splinter," aka Ted Williams, was a baseball phenom. From his childhood in 1930s San Diego, Calif., he practiced and practiced hitting a baseball and developed a smooth, strong swing. But there was (and is) no easy way to hit a small, round ball with a narrow piece of wood. Williams doggedly worked on his hitting until he became one of the best players in the history of the game. In the 1941 season with two games remaining, his batting average was .39955, but Williams came through and achieved a record-breaking .406, the last full-season .400 in baseball. Bowen, who writes a sports column for kids, tells the story journalistically, extending his account of the season-ending doubleheader that took Williams over the top to heighten the tension. Pyle's paintings give the feeling of baseball, players and the parks in which they played in active and accurate portraits that match the writing-strong sports reporting, both visually and textually, to provide readers, be they baseball fans or not, the excitement of games and the efforts of a player whose feat has yet to be matched in modern times. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525478775
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
02/04/2010
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,351,572
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.30(d)
Lexile:
AD830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Fred Bowen is a weekly columnist for The Washington Post, where he writes a sports section called The Score that's just for kids. He lives in Maryland.

Charles S. Pyle teaches illustration at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He lives in Sonoma County, California.

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