Part of the publisher's "Overcoming Adversity" series, this well-crafted book focuses on Chicago Cubs' slugger Sammy Sosa who, together with Mark McGwire, captured the attention of millions of Americans with their historic home run race in 1998. The story begins with Sosa's hardscrabble youth in San Pedro de Macoris. This city of 125,000 in the Dominican Republic is a hot bed of baseball passion, producing many major league stars over the years. Although unable to afford proper equipment, this hardship did not deter young Sosa and his compatriots from playing ball. For example, they used two pieces of cardboard sewn together with fishing line for gloves. Indeed, Sosa's first baseball glove consisted of an inside-out milk carton. Young readers will certainly appreciate learning about Sosa's humble beginnings and his struggles to reach the pinnacle of his profession. The author ably describes Sosa's entry to professional baseball in the U.S., detailing how he adjusted to living in a strange new country, and later, how his game improved to where he is today universally acknowledged as one of baseball's greatest hitters. At 101 pages long, this book is an ideal selection for school book reports and research assignments. 2000, Chelsea House Publishers, Ages 9 to 12, $19.95, and $9.95. Reviewer: Bruce Adelson—Children's Literature
- Mary Sue Preissner
Most will recognize Sammy Sosa as the slugger who for two years running has led baseball's homerun hit battle with Mark McGuire. Few know that this Dominican Republic native grew up very poor. Fatherless since age seven, Sosa helped feed his mother and siblings by shining shoes as a youngster. His baseball prowess began in the streets, playing stickball with other neighbors, using a cut milk carton for a glove and a stick wrapped in a sock and tape for a bat. At the age of sixteen, he signed his first baseball contract. Sammy has used his success to improve the quality of life in his hometown by donating computers to schools, providing building space for a medical clinic, and spearheading a supply effort after Hurricane George in 1998. In the United States, he has shared his wealth by providing toys to hospitals. The "Real-Life Reader Biography" series brings the lives of contemporary figures to print. Viewed as role models who have overcome great obstacles, the subjects of these nonfiction stories come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and economic and social arenas. This short biography will appeal to elementary and middle school readers, reluctant readers, and ESL students. A chronology and index is included.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Two sports titles based on personal interviews with the subjects, their families, management, and fellow players. Macht details the Puerto Rican athlete's childhood and career through 1998, including the infamous spitting incident, the media coverage, and unfavorable fan reaction that continues to haunt the player. The author emphasizes Alomar's strong self-discipline, work ethic, and close family ties. Although both books are informative, Muskat's title is slightly more readable and logical in its presentation. It includes a description of Sosa's rise from extreme poverty and emphasizes his strong family relationships and love for his homeland, the Dominican Republic. Career highlights and statistics bring the coverage up-to-date includ-ing a chapter on Sosa's amazing 1998 home-run season and how it fits into baseball history. Average-quality black-and-white photos appear in both books.-Kate Kohlbeck, Randall School, Waukesha, WI Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.