Play Ball, Jackie!
Play Ball, Jackie!

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Annotation: On April 15, 1947, Matt Romano and his father watch the Brooklyn Dodgers season-opener, during which Jackie Robinson, a twenty-eight-year-old rookie, breaks the "color line" that had kept black men out of Major League baseball. Includes facts about Jackie Robinson's life and career.
Catalog Number: #49479
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition Date: 2011
Illustrator: Morse, Joe,
Pages: 32
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 0-8225-9030-1 Perma-Bound: 0-605-49275-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-8225-9030-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-49275-2
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2010027270
Dimensions: 23 x 27 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
There's no shortage of picture books about pioneering baseball players, but this one takes a different tack than most. A father brings his son to the opening-day game at Ebbets Field in 1947, where a notable rookie is making his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The father scored the tickets because a coworker, like a lot of people, refused to attend and watch a black player. "Should Jackie Robinson be here?" the boy asks his dad, who replies he only wants to see the best players on the field, no matter their color, a sentiment the boy echoes during the seventh-inning stretch, when another young fan makes racist comments. This fan's-view account solidly, if a bit woodenly, brings home the lesson of an important moment in racial integration, but the real treat here is the Dodger-blue-and-graphite kineticism of Morse's stylized, limber figures and dynamic layouts. Consider this book as a leadoff hitter to set the table for the slugger, Kadir Nelson's We Are the Ship (2008).
Horn Book
Dynamic drawings of players and fans are the stars of this story about a boy who's able to attend Jackie Robinson's first Major League game only because his father's colleague doesn't want to see an African American play for the Dodgers. There's some heavy-handedness to the text, but the book provides a decent entry for discussions about prejudice.
Kirkus Reviews
Matty and his father, avid Dodgers fans, are in the stands for the first game of the 1947 baseball season. It is also the first time in the modern era that a black player is part of a major league team—Jackie Robinson's debut. There are many black fans there to support him, as well as many white fans who resent his presence. Matty and his dad are of the opinion that everyone deserves a chance and are optimistic that Jackie will be the one to get their team to the World Series. Krensky creates a multilayered recounting of a seminal moment in the history of baseball and America. He incorporates background information while carefully and accurately describing the play-by-play details of that first game, and he also manages to capture the mood of the crowd—and, by extension, the nation. Morse's muscular, out-of-proportion illustrations focus readers' attention on facial and body language, emphasizing the strong emotions alluded to in the text. A worthy homage to a baseball legend. (author's note, photos, bibliography) (Picture book. 7-10) 
School Library Journal
Gr 2&11;5&12; This book offers a child's view of Jackie Robinson's first game as a Brooklyn Dodger on Major League Baseball's Opening Day April 15, 1947, a day former Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig referred to as "baseball's proudest moment." Matty attends the event with his father, who got the tickets free from a disgruntled colleague. As they watch, Matty's dad recalls that his father, an Italian-American immigrant, also faced prejudice. As the game goes on, the boy hears some people heckling Robinson but by the final inning, he proudly sports an "I'm for Jackie" button and declares, "I wouldn't have missed Jackie Robinson for anything." Morse's graphic illustrations capture the fans' excitement along with the on-field drama. Text and illustrations add historical context: as the boy muses that "Times seemed to be changing," the illustrations depict African-American World War II soldiers, and a newspaper headline refers to the Tuskegee Airmen. An author's note offers an overview of Robinson's life and career. This well-crafted book deserves a place on the growing shelf of books designed to introduce readers to Robinson, including Sharon Robinson's Jackie's Gift (Viking, 2010) and Testing the Ice (Scholastic, 2009) and Myron Uhlberg's Dad, Jackie, and Me (Peachtree, 2005).&12; Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly
In 1947, a boy learns how his father got free tickets to the Opening Day game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves: Jackie Robinson is the Dodgers' new first baseman, and many fans are outraged. Matty's father also expresses his opinion: ""I want to see the best players out there... I don't care what color they are."" Some members of the stylized crowd wear ""I'm for Jackie"" buttons, while others raise their fists, heckling Robinson, who is drawn in resolute steel blues. Morse's dramatically grained, exaggerated artwork plays up the intensity of the era's racial tensions and the dynamism of the game, while Krensky adeptly moves between the action on Ebbets Field and Matty's conversations with his father. An intimate and powerful account of a historic day. Ages 7%E2%80%9310. (Mar.)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 1,559
Reading Level: 3.5
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.5 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 141977 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:2.6 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q53267
Lexile: 590L

April 15, 1947, is a big day for Matty. His dad is taking him to see the Brooklyn Dodgers on opening day! It's also a big day for the Dodgers' new first baseman, Jackie Robinson. Can he finally help the Dodgers make it back to the World Series?

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