SAY-HEY AND THE BABE

TWO MOSTLY TRUE BASEBALL STORIES

In 1951, it was common to see Willie Mays playing in the streets of Harlem with the neighborhood stickball teams. Pete and his friends witness Mays hit a “spaldeen” for an incredible distance of seven sewers. While searching for the ball in the sewer, Pete instead finds a ball autographed by Babe Ruth and his 1927 Yankee teammates. It is a remarkable chain of events that leads to that moment, because Babe Ruth had originally given the ball to Pete’s grandfather, and his father had been the one to lose it. Waldman deftly weaves two real events into a charming, nostalgic tale that lovingly evokes the dynamics of growing up in New York City in a time abounding in possibilities. While never allowing his imagination to be compromised, he presents a wealth of factual material about baseball, stickball and 1950s New York, in distinct, framed sidebars. Exquisitely detailed sepia pen-and-ink drawings and glowing watercolor illustrations, again a mixture of imagination and renderings of historic images, perfectly enhance the text. Absolutely marvelous. (Picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 15, 2006

ISBN: 0-8234-1857-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2006

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It's a deftly worked resolution, inspirational message and all.

IN THE YEAR OF THE BOAR AND JACKIE ROBINSON

A young Chinese arrival, self-named Shirley Temple Wong, finds a secure, bicultural niche in 1945-46 Brooklyn—as, it's suggested, did Chinese American novelist Lord (Spring Moon).

The opening passages, meant to evoke a traditional Chinese household, have a slightly artificial, storybook quality; but once Lord gets Shirley to the Brooklyn neighborhood of look-alike houses, and into P.S. 8 where not two children look alike, this becomes an endearing, warming account of immigrant woes and joys. Her first afternoon, after Father has shown her around, Shirley insists on going to fetch cigarettes—"Rukee Sike"; she proudly procures them, from a substitute store ("Nothing to it at all"), then loses her way back ("What a fool she was!")—but Father and his guests, finding her, still march her home triumphant. She is put into the fifth grade, not only knowing no English, but actually a year ahead of herself (asked her age, she held up ten fingers—because a Chinese child is one year old at birth); in response to a wink, she takes to blinking (a tic, wonders the teacher); introduced, she bows. And, from her general differentness, she's soon ignored, friendless; a failure, too, as "China's little ambassador" of her mother's imagining. (In a poignant bit, P.S. 8's second "Chinese" student proves to be from Chattanooga, and not to speak Chinese.) The turnaround starts with two black eyes from Mabel, "the tallest and the strongest and the scariest girl in all the fifth grade." Shirley doesn't tattle; Mabel befriends her—picking her for stickball, coaching her; and, from an inadvertent resemblance to Jackie Robinson (" 'Cause she's pigeontoed and stole home"), she develops a passion for the Dodgers and an identification with Robinson ("making a better America," proclaims her teacher) that climaxes when she presents him with the keys to P.S. 8. But in a nice parallel with a Chinese tale, this identification also allows Shirley to wear "two gowns," and to imagine her Chinese relatives clapping along with the P.S. 8 audience.

It's a deftly worked resolution, inspirational message and all.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 1984

ISBN: 978-0-06-440175-3

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1984

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Tris is a charmer, and readers will root for him all the way.

THE DOUGHNUT KING

From the Doughnut Fix series , Vol. 2

Twelve-year old Tris Levin has come to love the tiny upstate New York town of Petersville, where his family relocated from New York City in The Doughnut Fix (2018).

He cannot keep up with the demand of his booming doughnut business. He and his partner, Josh, decide the solution is to acquire an extremely costly robotic doughnut-making machine, but how to make it happen? Petersville’s shrinking population is causing it to lose the post office, and the library and school are at risk as well. An effort to make the town a foodie destination with Mom’s Station House restaurant and Tris’ Doughnut Stop as mainstays is just the beginning of a renewal plan. Tris reluctantly enters a televised kids’ cooking contest to try to win the big prize while advertising his town. Readers view the events and characters entirely through Tris’ thoughts as he narrates his own tale earnestly and honestly, learning much about himself. He makes and loses a friend, fellow contestant Keya, an Indian girl with whom he has lovely discussions of the Yiddish language and his family’s few Jewish traditions. (The book adheres to a white default.) His takes on the highs, lows, and draconian demands of the contest, hosted by the evil Chef JJ, are both hilarious and a spot-on spoof of reality shows. There are some surprise twists and a satisfying outcome.

Tris is a charmer, and readers will root for him all the way. (recipes, acknowledgements) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5544-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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