Jackie's Bat
Jackie's Bat

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Annotation: Joey, the batboy for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, learns a hard lesson about respect for people of different races after Jackie Robinson joins the team.
Catalog Number: #1506
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition Date: c2006
Illustrator: Pinkney, J. Brian.,
Pages: 40
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 0-689-84102-7 Perma-Bound: 0-605-05845-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-689-84102-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-05845-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2001049353
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
In March of 2005, Myron Uhlberg paired with illustrator Colin Bootman to recount the Jackie Robinson story from the perspective of Uhlberg's father, a deaf man who drew personal inspiration from Robinson's stoic endurance of prejudice during the landmark 1947 season (Dad, Jackie, and Me ). Now, Lorbiecki and Pinkney tell the fictional story of the Dodgers' new batboy, Joey, whose father doesn't believe a young white kid should be shining the shoes of a black man. Joey tries to reflect his father's views, but he is quickly won over by Robinson's skill on the field and his gentlemanly behavior in the locker room. Lorbiecki tells the story directly, with little moralizing, and Pinkney's evocative watercolors are nicely integrated with the text and vividly capture young Joey's growing respect for Robinson. Unfortunately, the illustration of Robinson hitting his first home run shows Jackie jammed by the pitch--a pop-up would surely have been the result of that swing. Still, Pinkney's signature style is much in evidence here and will certainly please his many fans, young and old. Children may also enjoy Carin Ford's biography, Jackie Robinson, Hero of Baseball.
Horn Book
This quietly effective story focuses on Jackie Robinson's (fictional) white bat boy, Joey. With a prejudice inherited from his father, Joey neglects to polish Robinson's shoes and generally ignores him. The first-person narrative traces Joey's gradual change of heart. Pinkney trades in his characteristic vibrant scratchboard for a less successful muted watercolor palette. An afterword documents the 1947 Dodgers' season.
Kirkus Reviews
<p>Joey is the batboy for the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, and he is unsure of how to deal with Jackie Robinson. His father says that a white boy shouldn't have to serve a black man. So he doesn't shine Jackie's shoes, and he ignores his requests. As the season progresses, Joey notes the changing reactions of Jackie's teammates, players on the other teams and the fans around the league, both black and white. He comes to admire and cheer Jackie's patience and talent and to respect him as a man. Telling the story from Joey's point of view and the use of the immediate present tense places the focus on Robinson's impact on peoples' hearts and minds. Pinkney's watercolor illustrations also focus on the characters, with backgrounds softly sketched. An afterword and author's note give additional information about Robinson's character and life after baseball. A gentle message about the insidious nature of racism. (Picture book. 6-9)</p>
Publishers Weekly

Narrated by the Brooklyn Dodgers' white batboy, Joey, Lorbiecki's (Sister Anne's Hands) heartwarming tale set in 1947 tells two parallel stories. The first is Jackie Robinson's difficult but ultimately triumphant first season in the major leagues, and the other is Joey's challenging, but also triumphant, battle against his own racism. With understated simplicity, Joey recounts the numerous indignities Robinson endures: taunts from opposing teams, pitchers aiming at him, hate mail, separate hotels and some insults inflicted by the batboy himself (e.g., Joey cleans the shoes of every player except Robinson because, the boy thinks to himself, "Pops says it ain't right,/ a white boy serving a black man"). Robinson confronts Joey: "There's people out there who don't/ treat me as a man 'cause my skin is black/.... They don't know what a man is." Joey chronicles Robinson's gradual progression from outsider to "one of the guys" as his teammates start defending and working with him. Foreground figures appear outlined in thick brushstrokes in Pinkney's full-bleed spreads, while background structures and people appear in paler lines and impressionistic dabs of color. The final scenes depict Robinson offering Joey his hand to shake, "one Dodger to another," and Pops wearing an "I'm for Jackie" button, saying, "That man's earned his place in history." These moments give added emotional weight to this straightforward but often moving re-imagining of how an American hero's struggle and achievement helped transform a nation. Ages 5-8. (Jan.)

School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-A fictionalized account of Robinson's first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, as seen through the eyes of Joey, a batboy. He has attended games with his father since he was a toddler, and he's been a fan of "dem bums" for years. He meets the star player in the locker room on Robinson's first day as a Dodger, and though the man is friendly, Joey remembers that Pops says, "it ain't right, a white boy serving a black man." He gives the first baseman the cold shoulder and refuses to clean his shoes as he does for the other players. As Joey watches Robinson endure the prejudice of fans and players on other teams, he comes to admire him both as a ballplayer and a man. Eventually, both the boy and Pops admit that he "earned his place in history." An afterword gives more information on Robinson's career and legacy. Pinkney's watercolor illustrations, awash in bright hues and expressive details, enliven the characters with sinewy, curvaceous lines. The slight story is saddled with a simplistic ending, but it merits praise as a thoughtful lesson in tolerance; teachers, in particular, will appreciate it as a jumpstart for discussion.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Word Count: 2,567
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 104178 / grade: Lower Grades

Superstars hit the big leagues! Two-time Caldecott Honor artist Brian Pinkney and award-winning author Marybeth Lorbiecki take the field in this carefully crafted, fictionalized account of how Jackie Robinson broke through professional baseball's color barrier.

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