Entertaining and informative—a rousing choice for young baseball fans.



This illustrated children’s book explains how the Chicago Cubs finally broke the 108-year drought that kept them from winning the World Series.

A billy goat, a disgruntled fan, and a curse: these are the intriguing ingredients of a baseball legend. Told in rhyming verse and depicted in comic book–style graphics, this story tells how fans in 1945, remembering their team’s 1908 win, hoped the Cubs would capture another World Series trophy. But during Game 4, a man who’d brought his smelly goat to watch the game got himself kicked out: “ ‘You will never win again!’ the man proclaimed aloud, / and thus ‘The Curse of the Billy Goat’ fell over the crowd”—or more important, the Cubs. Moving ahead to 2016, the tale details the road to the pennant and the Cubs’ Series win, noting individual contributions by players, the coach, and management. Attinella (Greatest Ever, 2017, etc.) employs lively verse to add emotion to the story. Though his scansion isn’t perfect, he conveys the building excitement as the Cubs inch closer to breaking the curse. The author writes knowledgeably about the team and the game; a gracious touch that fans should appreciate is the volume’s dedication to Cubs fan Steve Bartman. Pascale (Bru-Hed’s Guide to Gettin’ Girls NOW! Vol. 1, 2009, etc.) draws well, with his style mixing realism and cartoon elements. The artwork adds detail, humor, and drama, as in the bottom-up perspective of a player, giving him giantlike dimensions.

Entertaining and informative—a rousing choice for young baseball fans.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9989440-0-5

Page Count: -

Publisher: It Had To Be Told Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A legally blind seventh-grader with clearer vision than most wins acceptance in a new Florida school as his football-hero older brother self-destructs in this absorbing, multi-stranded debut. Paul's thick lenses don't keep him from being a first-rate soccer goalie, but they do make him, willy-nilly, a "handicapped" student and thus, according to his new coach, ineligible to play. After a giant sinkhole swallows much of his ramshackle school, Paul is able to transfer to another school where, with some parental collusion, he can keep his legal status a secret. It turns out to be a rough place, where "minorities are in the majority," but Paul fits himself in, playing on the superb soccer team (as a substitute for one of the female stars of the group) and pitching in when a freeze threatens the citrus groves. Bloor fills in the setting with authority and broad irony: In Tangerine County, Florida, groves are being replaced by poorly designed housing developments through which drift clouds of mosquitoes and smoke from unquenchable "muck fires." Football is so big that not even the death of a player struck by lightning during practice gets in the way of NFL dreams; no one, including Paul's parents, sees how vicious and amoral his brother, Erik, is off the field. Smart, adaptable, and anchored by a strong sense of self-worth, Paul makes a memorable protagonist in a cast of vividly drawn characters; multiple yet taut plotlines lead to a series of gripping climaxes and revelations. Readers are going to want more from this author. (Fiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-201246-X

Page Count: 293

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

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One of the watershed moments in African-American history—the defeat of James Braddock at the hands of Joe Louis—is here given an earnest picture-book treatment. Despite his lack of athletic ability, Sammy wants desperately to be a great boxer, like his hero, getting boxing lessons from his friend Ernie in exchange for help with schoolwork. However hard he tries, though, Sammy just can’t box, and his father comforts him, reminding him that he doesn’t need to box: Joe Louis has shown him that he “can be the champion at anything [he] want[s].” The high point of this offering is the big fight itself, everyone crowded around the radio in Mister Jake’s general store, the imagined fight scenes played out in soft-edged sepia frames. The main story, however, is so bent on providing Sammy and the reader with object lessons that all subtlety is lost, as Mister Jake, Sammy’s father, and even Ernie hammer home the message. Both text and oil-on-canvas-paper illustrations go for the obvious angle, making the effort as a whole worthy, but just a little too heavy-handed. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2004

ISBN: 1-58430-161-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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