This substantial collection of baseball lore is both comprehensible and enlightening, useful for middle grade devotees of America’s national pastime. Four sections cover Pivotal Players (“Three-Fingered Ace Mordecai Brown”), Sensational Stories (“The ‘Jumbo Wagner’: The Most Expensive Trading Card in the Universe”), Radical Records (“The Only Man Named MVP in Both Leagues”), and Colossal Comebacks (“Hitless Wonders: The 1906 World Series”) in detail, expressed in a jovial, conversational tone: “Big ol’ muscle brain, jam-packed with baseball info that only a top graduate with a PhD from Baseball University would know.” Lively typography, graphic headers, accent font colors, outlined passages, and plenty of illustrations keep the pages turning. Bajet’s bold digital art, done in a warm, inviting palette and evoking an animation style, brings past players and escapades alive for a modern audience. Young baseball fans will find this narrative nonfiction tome engaging and worth revisiting. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
A highly recommended first purchase. Readers will be sucked into this unique collection of ‘amazing but true stories’.” — School Library Journal, STARRED "Inviting for newcomers and eye-opening for longtime fans, this one will have wide appeal in its exploration of the shortcomings and the beauty of America’s favorite pastime.” — Booklist, STARRED “An ebullient collection of stunning comebacks, awesome athletes, and achievements both grand and dubious.” — Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—A lot of kids (even those who aren't baseball fanatics) know who Babe Ruth is; but do they know about Jackie Mitchell, the teenage girl who struck out both Ruth and his teammate Lou Gehrig during an exhibition game? Or how about Sadaharu Oh, the Japanese ballplayer who has more career home runs than any American pro? The book's four chapters ("Pivotal Players," "Sensational Stories," "Radical Records," and "Colossal Comebacks") organize the history of baseball into quirky categories that share the stories of lesser-known legends. "Pivotal Players" recounts the career of the great Satchel Paige, who played first in the Negro Leagues and then moved into the majors, as well as the rise of executive Kim Ng, who is both the highest ranking woman and Asian American in Major League Baseball. "Radical Records" includes impressive statistics, like the world record tie for fastest pitch ever (105.1 mph). The final chapter will inspire awe with John Hiller's return to pitching after a massive heart attack and generate giggles with "Jim Rooker's Unintentional Walk." Pirates pitcher Rooker told the media he would walk back to Pittsburgh if the Pirates gave up a massive lead over the Phillies in a 1989 game at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium. The Pirates ended up losing and Rooker made good on his promise. Supported with colorful illustrations, the book's conversational tone is pitch perfect. VERDICT A highly recommended first purchase. Readers will be sucked into this unique collection of "amazing but true stories."—Abby Bussen, Muskego Public Library, WI
A fizzy compendium of baseball feats, firsts, and lore from Newbery Honoree and Kirkus Prize winner Barnes (Crown, illustrated by Gordon C. James, 2017).
Although Barnes doesn't really stick to the "unheralded figures and untold stories" he says he'll highlight, still he does tuck some less-heralded hijinks and heroes into an anecdotal rush that captures the "joy and wonderment that is baseball." So, along with tributes to the likes of Satchel Paige and Negro Leagues founder Rube Foster, he tips a cap to Ozzie Vergil, the first Dominican major leaguer; slugger Hank Greenberg, the "Hebrew Hammer"; "Tommy John" surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe; and four African Americans who played professionally before Jackie Robinson. Not to mention a nine-inning, 49-run game and another that went 33 innings. In formal, neatly drawn cartoons, Bajet tones down some of the wilder incidents, giving his subjects—even mascots—dignified presences and, usually, welcoming smiles. Fans budding or confirmed will need to look elsewhere for an organized baseball history or highlights reel, but they will come away feeling as if they'd sat in the bleachers with a true enthusiast who's helped them earn "some idea of how much of a challenge it was for players of color, players from outside the United States, and for women to be part of this beautiful game."
An ebullient collection of stunning comebacks, awesome athletes, and achievements both grand and dubious. (bibliography, glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-11)