TITLE: The Streak: How Joe DiMaggio Became America’s Hero
AUTHOR: Barb Rosenstock
ILLUSTRATOR: Terry Widener
PUBLICATION INFO: Calkins Creek, 2014
INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 8 and up
GENRE: nonfiction picture book
OPENING and SYNOPSIS:
“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.
- Use baseball stats to teach math in a practical way.
- A teacher’s guide is available through Rosenstock’s Web site.
- PBS’S American Experience has a Joe DiMaggio film with instructions for how to use the film and Web site in the classroom.
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!