Book Review | Lipman Pike: America’s First Home Run King by Richard Michelson

Lipman Pike: America’s First Home Run King

Written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Zachary Pullen

Sleeping Bear Press, 2011

The good things

  • Baseball!
  • The way Lip calculated the distance and speed needed to fetch a pair of boy’s stockings for a customer
  • The author’s note—places the story in context
  • Mr. Pike—What a mensch!
  • Mrs. Pike—Yes, why do all these people watch men chase a little ball?
  • Analogy to a racehorse—Repeated throughout the text and brought to a satisfying close in “The Rest Is History” section (oh, and the “I” should be initial capped, sorry)
  • The repetition of “he forgot all about being nervous, and he hit the first pitch over the right fielder’s head.”

The not-so-good things

  • Confusing text—Is Lip faster than Boaz or the other way around? The “now three years later” seems to come out of nowhere. Isn’t clear that the Pike family is of Dutch heritage.
  • Context—until the author’s note, I don’t know when any of the events are taking place.
  • Love of baseball—Lip’s love of the sport doesn’t really come through, although his skill does.
  • Monikers—Lipman is America’s first home run king, the first professional ball player, and the Iron Batter. A bit too much.
  • Boss Tweed—It’s hard to see him as a nice guy.
  • Illustration—Sorry, but Lipman looks like Alfred E. Neuman. I think he was a lot more handsome than that.

Nonfiction geek that I am, I would have liked to know what attracted Rich to this story, why he felt it needed to be told, and how he researched it.

Overall summary

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

About Barbara Krasner

History writer and award-winning author Barbara Krasner writes Jewish-themed poetry, articles, nonfiction books, and novels for children and adults.
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2 Responses to Book Review | Lipman Pike: America’s First Home Run King by Richard Michelson

  1. Rosi Hollinbeck says:

    Thanks for this post, Barbara. Being in a baseball-crazed family, I am always looking for more baseball books. It doesn’t have to be perfect — it just has to be about baseball.

  2. Pingback: Jewish Book Carnival: April | Jewish Book Council Blog

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