One week to MLB’s all star game…so All Star! is a must-read

July 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm Leave a comment

All Star! Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jim Burke; published by Philomel Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, New York; 2010.

How does a coal-shoveling, bow-legged boy from Pennsylvania get his mug on the most valuable baseball card of all time?  Well, by hard work, quick wit, and love of the game, of course.  Honus Wagner, often overlooked all star of baseball past, had a strong arm and fast feet but played for love of the game.  His story, especially in the hands of Yolen and Burke, is not just about the greatest shortstop in major league history, but of the man behind the glove.  And the man that refused to endorse tobacco but ended up with his face on the most valuable baseball card in history.  As Wagner would have said, “How about that!”

Yolen’s text is rhythmic and riveting.  She carries us along the gentle back story of Honus Wagner then builds a wave of words describing his successes.  Combined with Burke’s oil paintings, we are carried back to days when baseball was played for love of the sport, not multi-million-dollar salaries.  In fact, Burke’s love of Wagner is evident in the illustrations: the color choices reflecting the time period made me feel like I was looking through a window into Honus Wagner’s world.  Sometimes the images spilled off the pages, reminding us that this man was larger-than-life in the baseball world of his day.  Capping this beautiful tribute are images of baseball cards, ticket stubs, a bat, and other memorabilia about the bow-legged shortstop, decorating the end pages.

I love books about baseball players that beat the odds to become heroes of the game.  In this age of out-of-control salaries and steroid scandals, it is so refreshing to read about an upstanding citizen and true hero.  This wonderfully written and incredibly illustrated book belongs on every baseball pathfinder and in every boys-of-summer display.


Entry filed under: Non-fiction or Informational, Picture Book, Starred Review Book (Horn Book, Booklist. School Library Journal, Kirkus or PW). Tags: , , , , .

Leave Your Sleep proves that poetry rocks (and pops, and lullabies, and folks around the world…) What?!? 11 Planets!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

a librarian's library of plans & resources for storytimes, programs & readers' advisory
Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that sometimes books are received for review for free by publishers or authors. All books (ARCs, galleys, library or purchased) will be reviewed fairly; no special consideration is given to anything reviewed on this blog. In addition, I make every attempt to avoid spoilers. Sometimes they happen inadvertently or because they are important to defend a review; not all spoilers have been removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement included as a warning to readers.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


RSS Sesame Street Podcasts

  • Meet Julia
  • Happy Valentine's Day
  • Grover Can Do it
  • Let's Dance
  • Furry Friends Forever

%d bloggers like this: