AUTHOR: Jane Yolen
ILLUSTRATOR: Jim Burke
PUBLICATION INFO: Penguin’s Philomel, 2010
INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 6-8 (Publisher’s recommendation)
GENRE: picture book biography
OPENING and SYNOPSIS:
“In July 2007 a rare baseball card was sold at auction for almost three million dollars.”
From the publisher’s Website:
The Honus Wagner baseball card is the most valuable baseball card of all time! But he was born poor, ugly, bow-legged, and more suited to shoveling coal in his Pennsylvania mining town than becoming the greatest shortstop of all time. How could it happen? Did those strong arms and fast legs turn him into a Pittsburgh Pirate and one of the game’s most unforgettable players?
In this true story, Jane Yolen shows us that wit, talent, perseverance, and passion score more than home runs. As Honus would say, “How about that!”
THEMES/TOPICS: baseball, perseverance
WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: As Yolen points, out Wagner was a star in the days before performance enhancing drugs and fancy training schedules. As an early teen, he gained strength and endurance by working in the coal mines of Pennsylvania alongside his father. Also, the reason Wagner’s card is so rare, is because he had it pulled from the market. The card was found in packs of cigarettes. Wagner was a nonsmoker and worried about the health of his young fans.
- The first link on this site has a Louisiana State-produced teacher’s guide on the book for grades 3-5.
- Visit the Honus Wagner historical landmark virtually.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.