When Jackie and Hank Met
Written by Cathy Goldberg Fishman and illustrated by Mark Elliott
Marshall Cavendish Children, 2012
The good stuff
- Ingenuity — The idea to write about the meeting of baseball greats Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg, who each did not allow racial or religious prejudice to obscure their dreams, is inspired.
- Wide appeal — Even if a young reader doesn’t like baseball, a story of two sports heroes who fought against the odds is one anyone could relate to.
- Foreshadowing — Fishman begins her prose by stating that Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg were born eight years and 1,000 miles apart. She says, “Nobody knew these babies would grow up and play baseball. Nobody knew Jackie and Hank would meet and become heroes.” Throughout the text, she brings them together and informs the reader with touch points such as, “Now Jackie and Hank were about 4,000 miles apart,” and “Jackie and Hank were only 90 feet apart.”
- Climax — The point where Jackie and Hank actually collide provides a wonderful climax. The New York Times quote is a great addition as is the illustration of Hank’s reassuring hand on Jackie’s back. The page particularly sticks out, because it has a full page of text.
- Conclusion — The last line sums up the story beautifully, “Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg were not only baseball heroes—but heroes for the rights of people everywhere.”
- Back matter — Individual bio pages on Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg provide more information on each of these men. The portraits on these two pages nostalgically recall baseball cards. Other back matter includes milestone dates in Hank’s life and in Jackie’s life, resources for further information and a selected bibliography.
The not-so-good stuff
- Semi-colons — In a picture book, semi-colon use seems strange.
- Historical accuracy of illustrations — It looks like an illustration of young Hank in the streets of New York is wearing a yarmulke. Really? Or is it a cap?
- Clarity — It’s not clear why Hank’s life changed when he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- Verb strength — “Were” seems to be a popular choice.
4.0 out of 5.0
As usual, Barbara, you have found a book I didn’t know existed and that is most interesting. You know we are a baseball family, so anything baseball is going right on my list. Thanks for another informative review.
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