PPBF: The Streak


TITLE:  The Streak: How Joe DiMaggio Became America’s Hero

AUTHOR: Barb Rosenstock

ILLUSTRATOR: Terry Widener

PUBLICATION INFO: Calkins Creek, 2014

ISBN: 9781590789926

SOURCE: library

INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 8 and up

GENRE: nonfiction picture book


“It all started quietly, like a conversation with Joe DiMaggio himself.”

From the publisher:

“In the summer of 1941, Yankee center fielder Joe DiMaggio and his favorite bat, Betsy Ann, begin the longest hitting streak in baseball history. But when Betsy Ann goes missing, will DiMaggio keep hitting? Set on the brink of World War II, this is a spellbinding account of a sports story that united the country and made DiMaggio a hero, at a time when one was profoundly needed. Barb Rosenstock’s action-packed text and Terry Widener’s powerful illustrations capture DiMaggio’s drive as well as his frustration. The book also includes headlines, quotes, stats, and a detailed bibliography.”

THEMES/TOPICS: history, biography, sports

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I’m taking a course on picture book pacing right now. Pacing, speeding up and slowing down the reader to build tension, is something I really struggle with in my own writing. To help, I’ve been studying pacing by reading LOTS and LOTS of nonfiction picture books. Though I love all of Barb Rosenstock’s books, this is perhaps the best I’ve seen when it comes to pacing. She uses vivid verbs, as well as repetition. The word “streak” is used throughout, printed in red, like the crowd’s chant. Sometimes, Rosenstock repeats the word three times in a row for more emphasis: “streak, streak, streak.” Rosenstock also uses numbers to help build tension, driving the reader forward, as in “28, 29, 30 games.” All in all, this book is a dramatic read.


You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!

25 thoughts on “PPBF: The Streak”

  1. I love all of Barb Rosenstock’s books also – and I put this on my library list as soon as you mentioned it on the WOW NF FB page!

  2. This sounds terrific, Kirsten! I didn’t know Betsy Ann went missing (not that surprising – I’m not really a baseball fan :)) but what an interesting story! And how is that course going? I’d love to take it, but don’t have the time just now…

    1. Oh my gosh, I just got caught up. It is like drinking from a firehose. There is so much to think about with picture books. Whoever thinks writing these is easy should look at my notes from this class!

  3. I have learnt al i know about baseball from picture books. They have the perfect amount of details for me. Thanks for recommending another. I liked your craft comments, too.

    1. Ha, ha Joanna. It’s not my favorite sport either. I’ve really been trying to focus on pacing. It’s interesting how much you can learn from each book once you start to pay attention to the details.

  4. Wow! Looks like a great book. I’ll have to get this one for our school library. I think my 10-yr-old son would like this, and I think I’ll also study it for my own writing, as I, too, struggle with pacing. Thanks for highlighting!

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