LIPMAN PIKE

AMERICA'S FIRST HOME RUN KING

Lipman Pike played “Base” every chance he could get in his Brooklyn neighborhood. His parents were not sure it was the right thing for a Jewish boy to be doing, but they also want him to fit in with his peers. This was post–Civil War America, and the game was still in its infancy, at least in terms of organized play. The first leagues were loosely formed and were for amateurs, although several players were secretly paid. When Lip grew up, he was fast and strong and could hit for distance. He played variously for teams in Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York City and Troy, N.Y. He often faced anti-Semitism and distrust, but he won over his teammates and the “cranks” with his outstanding play. He led his league in home runs and even proved he could outrun a racehorse. Michelson adeptly employs fictional conversations interwoven with factual details as he reconstructs a long-forgotten time, managing to bring Pike’s story out of obscurity and relate it to modern young readers. Pullen’s lively, large-scale, brightly colored illustrations vividly capture the action and the time period. Text pages are augmented with sepia drawings of 19th-century newspapers, baseball scenes and equipment. An insight into baseball and America that is at once historical and timeless. (author's note) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-465-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            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

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Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.

THE MISSING BASEBALL

From the Zach and Zoe Mysteries series , Vol. 1

Lupica kicks off a new series starring a pair of 8-year-old twins who solve sports-themed mysteries.

Even the pleasures of competing in various events during his school’s Spirit Week dim a smidge for Zach Walker when the prized autographed baseball he brings to his third-grade class for show and tell vanishes. Happily, his bookish but equally sports-loving sister, Zoe, is on the case, and by the time of the climactic baseball game at week’s end, she has pieced together clues and deductions that lead to the lost treasure—which had not been stolen but batted through an open window by the teacher’s cat and stashed in a storage shed by the custodian. In the co-published sequel, The Half-Court Hero, the equally innocuous conundrum hangs on the identity of the mysterious “guardian angel” who is fixing up a run-down playground basketball court. Along with plenty of suspenseful sports action, the author highlights in both tales the values of fair play, teamwork, and doing the “right thing.” The Walker family presents white, but in both the narrative and Danger’s appropriately bland (if inappropriately static) illustrations, the supporting cast shows some racial and ethnic diversity.

Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28936-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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