Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy

Overview

Some say Shoeless Joe Jackson was the greatest hitter ever. But Shoeless Joe had a partner, his bat, Black Betsy. And if not for the faithful Black Betsy, Joe might never even have made it to the major leagues.

Shoeless Joe Jackson, said by some to be the greatest baseball player ever, goes into a hitting slump just before he is to start his minor league career, so he asks his friend to make him a special bat to help him hit.

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Overview

Some say Shoeless Joe Jackson was the greatest hitter ever. But Shoeless Joe had a partner, his bat, Black Betsy. And if not for the faithful Black Betsy, Joe might never even have made it to the major leagues.

Shoeless Joe Jackson, said by some to be the greatest baseball player ever, goes into a hitting slump just before he is to start his minor league career, so he asks his friend to make him a special bat to help him hit.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to PW, "One of baseball's greats receives star treatment in this compelling book." Ages 5-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Many baseball fans claim that Shoeless Joe Jackson was one of the greatest hitters to play the game. He earned his nickname when he participated in a game wearing socks, not shoes, on account of blisters. Why was he such a great hitter? Why, it was because of his bat, Black Betsy. Just before he was to play in the minors, Joe fell into a terrible hitting slump. He paid a visit to his friend, Ol' Charlie Ferguson who agreed to make Joe a bat. Shoeless Joe named his bat after Betsy Ross so people would honor it just like they honor the flag. Ol' Charlie needed to make several bats and gave Joe specific instructions on how to rub Betsy with tobacco juice for the dark and scary-looking color. When Shoeless Joe moved up to the majors, he batted .408. No other rookie has managed to beat his record. Incredible multi-media drawings that evoke the spirit of the era accompany a beautiful nostalgic story. An Afterword tells more of Joe's life, his career, and of the Black Sox scandal of 1919 that banished him from the game he loved. 2002, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster,
— Laura Hummel
School Library Journal
Slugger Joe Jackson was more than careful with his favorite bat. The book concludes with a short biography about the athlete and a page of his major league statistics. Baseball statistics can be expanded into a math lesson. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Is great hitting in the clean, natural swing of the batter-or the perfectly balanced feel of the bat? As kids know when they start playing baseball, small details must converge just right to overcome the edge between winning and losing, hitting and striking out. Sometimes this translates into superstitions or quirky behavior. First-time author Bildner toes this question in the quirks of Shoeless Joe Jackson and his feared bat, Black Betsy. Joe, who played in the major leagues from 1908 to 1920, does well in the minor leagues, but can't seem to move up without the help of his South Carolina friend, the great bat-maker Charlie Ferguson. While Charlie knows how to make the best bat, it's not hard to decide which needs tweaking more, the bat or Joe's mind so he can finally realize his great potential. From Joe sleeping with the bat to his wrapping it in the cotton of his southern roots, Bildner sticks mostly to the main facts and resists a romanticization of the game. Players who know the perfect, sweeping amalgamation of hand, eye, and sweet spot might expect to hear its dramatic tenor when Joe cracks the ball with Black Betsy, but this is a story finished by statistics. Payne's (Brave Harriet, p. 944, etc.) mixed-media illustrations are gorgeous: the fuzz is in the flannel and the light is just right. And so are his perspectives, angles, and other compositional choices that make for the right mix of mystery and narrative to draw the reader in. A lengthy synopsis of Joe's entire career and his statistics are appended. (Picture book. 5-8)
From the Publisher
"One of baseball's greats receives star treatment in this compelling book."
Publishers Weekly

"Will capture the attention of young baseball fans."
School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756949204
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Phil Bildner is the author of the New York Times bestselling Sluggers! series, the Texas Bluebonnet Award-winning Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy and its companion, The Shot Heard 'Round the World, both illustrated by C. F. Payne; and Twenty-One Elephants, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. His latest picture book is Turkey Bowl, illustrated by C.F Payne. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

C.F. Payne has illustrated more than a dozen picture books, including the Texas Bluebonnet winner Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy and Turkey Bowl, both written by Phil Bildner. He also illustrated the New York Times bestsellers The Remarkable Farkle McBride and Micawber, both by John Lithgow. He teaches at the Columbus College of Design, where he is the chair of the Illustration Department. C.F. Payne lives with his wife and children in Cincinnati, Ohio. Visit him at CFPayne.com.

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