This entry in the reader-friendly "Sports Heroes and Legends" series introduces one of baseball's greatest heroes, the powerful switch-hitter Mickey Mantle. A prologue sets the stage by imparting in chronological order the early training and perseverance it took to excel, and ends with what the author sees as Mantle's legacy to the sport. Boxed quotes from Mantle and coaches, plus interesting facts both of the sport and of his career, are sprinkled throughout the text. Photos grouped at the center of the book cover some highlights of Mantle's career in an era before steroids and other game lay enhancers. In ten chapters with less than 100 pages of text, this paperback-sized hardbound will capture the interest of older readers and satisfy the need for easy-to-read biographies for middle schoolers and upper elementary readers, as well. A rich selection of back matter includes stats, sources for all quotes, bibliography, websites, and an index. 2005, Lerner Sports, Ages 10 to 16.
Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
Gr 4-6-With their readable prose and detailed sports action, these titles will appeal to baseball fans. Leigh opens his account with a description of Suzuki's first game as a Seattle Mariner, when he became the first Japanese position player to make the leap to the American major leagues. The majority of this book details the superstar's development and play in Japan, and readers will learn quite a lot about baseball in that country. The portrait is balanced with quotes from coaches and fellow players, and accurate, up-to-date statistics. Marlin begins his account of Mantle's life in 1953 with the "Washington Wallop," the athlete's first tape-measure home run. The author goes on to describe his subject's impoverished background and career with the Yankees. Viola begins with a dramatic account of July 4, 1939, "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day," when Gehrig made his touching "Luckiest Man" speech. His baseball prowess was undeniable, but he spent much of his career in the shadow of Babe Ruth, and then Joe DiMaggio. All three titles have a handful of black-and-white photographs and a few pages of statistics. These solidly written and well-crafted books will be welcome additions. Leigh's entry also offers a fine introduction to baseball in Japan.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.