Hero worship abounds, but even within this context, the book scores a home run.


The great Joe DiMaggio still holds fascination for modern fans.

Baseball in the first half of the 20th century was indeed the national pastime. Whether it was the major league teams, players and game, the minor leagues with their future stars, or the local sandlot team, baseball was king. Winter taps into this fervor for this brief but thorough biography. From the beginning, Joe was determined not to become a fisherman like his father. Baseball would be his way out. Winter covers all the highlights of DiMaggio’s remarkable career, including his amazing, still unbroken hitting streaks, contextualizing it against the Depression and the coming war. He describes Joe’s quiet, almost taciturn demeanor and how it did nothing to impede his stature as a national hero. The narrative notes how DiMaggio’s every deed was covered in depth in newspapers and on radio, how he earned his nicknames, “Joltin’ Joe” and “the Yankee Clipper,” and how he even became the subject of a hit song. Even DiMaggio’s later marriage to Marilyn Monroe is remarked on for its joining of two of the most famous icons in America. Ransome’s detailed watercolors beautifully convey DiMaggio’s persona and his baseball prowess with just the right combination of accuracy and nostalgia.

Hero worship abounds, but even within this context, the book scores a home run. (author’s note, stats, sources) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4169-4080-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

There's a need for a good book for kids about Ansel Adams—and this one misses the mark.



This distillation of the photographer’s life and achievements focuses on his “antsy” youth and early influences.

A distracted, sickly student, Ansel reveled in nature along the beaches near his San Francisco home. He blossomed after his prescient father withdrew him from formal schooling, enabling home tutoring and such experiences as a season ticket to San Francisco’s 1915 world’s fair. Effectively employing onomatopoeia, Jenson-Elliott reveals 14-year-old Ansel’s pivotal experience at Yosemite. On a family trip, “Ansel got his first glimpse of Yosemite Valley—the ripple-rush-ROAR! of water and light! Light! Light! It was love at first sight.” In Yosemite, his parents gave him his first camera, and “he was off— Run-leap-scramble—SNAP!…Ansel’s photos became a / journal of everything he saw.” The final five double-page spreads compress 60-plus years: photography expeditions in Yosemite, marriage to Virginia Best, Adams’ government-commissioned work documenting the national parks, and the enduring importance of his photographic record of the American wild lands. Hale’s collages blend traditional and digital layering and include cropped photographic images such as Adams’ childhood home and wood-paneled station wagon. Her stylized depiction of Yosemite’s Half Dome and decision to render several iconic photographs as painterly thumbnails display a jarring disregard for Adams’ lifelong absorption with technical and visual precision.

There's a need for a good book for kids about Ansel Adams—and this one misses the mark. (biographical note, photographs with note, bibliography of adult resources, websites) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-082-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet