Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review Extra: Play Ball, Jackie

Play Ball, Jackie!
by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Joe Morse
Millbrook Press, 2011.
Grades K-5
Reviewed from e-galley provided by publisher through NetGalley.

Book blurb:
Batter up! It's Jackie Robinson's first game in the major leagues. April 15, 1947, is a big day for ten-year-old Matty Romano. His dad is taking him to see his favorite team--the Brooklyn Dodgers--on opening day! It's also a big day for the Dodgers' new first baseman, Jackie Robinson. Many white fans don't like the fact that an African American is playing in the major leagues. By putting Jackie on the team, the Dodgers are breaking the color barrier. How will Jackie respond to the pressure? Is he the player who can finally help the Dodgers make it back to the World Series? (goodreads.com)
Krensky does a good job of placing the reader in the stands during the first major league game that Jackie Robinson played in.  I liked the point-of-view being that of a young boy enjoying a baseball game, who doesn't understand why so many people are throwing things and saying ugly, awful things.  The book would be excellent for discussing discrimination and unkindness, which, unfortunately, are still very much with us.

The illustrations do a good job showing the action and the emotion of the players.  I did find the blue tint of the illustrations a little off-putting, but now that I think about it, I can see why the illustrator chose to do that.  It could symbolize the cold reception that Jackie got from other players and fans alike, another good discussion point.

There are also some other great books that would go well with this one:
Testing the Ice: A True Story about Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson (his daughter)
Who was Jackie Robinson? by Gail Herman
Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America by Sharon Robinson
Jackie & Me by Dan Gutman

Head on over the Lemme Library for other great book talks.

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