The Bambino and Me written by Zachary Hyman and illustrated by Zachary Pullen and published by Tundra Books, 2014.
The Bambino and Me
is the story of 10-year-old George Henry Alexander in the summer of 1927. There
were no computers, television or video games in those days so George spent his
time playing baseball. George was not good at baseball. He was always picked
last for teams and Nick the Noodle called him "an easy out." But
George loved the game so much he couldn't give it up.
Baseball was called the "National Pastime" and
everyone had their favorite team. George loved the New York Yankees and his
favorite player was the great Bambino - Babe Ruth. His prized possession was
his Babe Ruth baseball card and his dream was to see Babe play.
George’s dream came true on his birthday when his parents
gave him tickets to the game against the Yankees' biggest rival, the Boston Red
Sox. His dream was quickly shattered when he opened a birthday gift from his
uncle - a Red Sox jersey and cap. George didn't want to wear the jersey to the
game but his parents insisted. He knew he was asking for trouble sitting with
the Yankee fans in the enemy's uniform. But after the Yankees won the game,
wearing that jersey brought him the biggest surprise of his life.
Students grades 1 through 5 enjoyed the book. They laughed
at the pictures, especially when George defied his mother and got his mouth
washed out with soap. And children laughed at some of the phrases in the book
such as, "I'd rather kiss a girl." Both boys and girls liked the
story and they especially liked the theme of never giving up.
Zachary Hyman has written several sports books for children
that convey the idea that children who believe in themselves can accomplish
anything they set their minds to. Hyman is currently studying at the University
of Michigan on a hockey scholarship. Zachary Pullen’s picture-book
illustrations have won awards and garnered starred reviews. His
character-orientated books are popular with children and they are especially drawn
to the detail in people's expressions. Pullen lives in Wyoming with his wife
and son. This is the second book collaboration for Hyman and Pullen. Their
first book creation was Hockey Hero. (BARB
Gifts from the Enemy written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Craig Orback and published by White Cloud Press, 2014.
Gifts from the Enemy
is a true story about a young man’s experience while imprisoned in a labor camp
in Germany during the Holocaust. Alter
Wiener learns at an early age that kindness can come in surprising ways and that
hope can be found in something as simple as a cheese sandwich. This story sheds light on a beautiful act of
kindness from one person to another despite the circumstances and the risk
during a very dark time in history. The
illustrations are simplistically detailed and luminous, supporting the text
throughout the story.
Students responded enthusiastically to the book. Some said
they learned that “Not all people are bad just because they are part of a bad
group.” Students were engaged throughout the story and were interested in doing
more research so they could learn more about World War II and the Holocaust. After reading the book to her class, one teacher
commented that the students, “Really felt strongly about the book and stated
that it reminded the children of their freedom.” Supplemental questions and activities
for young readers are supplied to aide teachers and parents in the discussion of
the history and background of this book.
Author Trudy Ludwig resides in Portland, Oregon with her
family. Her books have won numerous
awards including the Mom’s Choice Gold Awards, the CCBC Best of the Year award,
and School Library Journal Best Picture Book for 2013. Illustrator Craig Orback
has illustrated over 20 children’s books and lives near Seattle where he
teaches children’s book illustration classes. (ANNA WILSON)
Rags: Hero Dog of WWI: A True Story written by Margot Theis Raven and illustrated by Petra Brown and published by Sleeping Bear Press, 2014.
students and teachers felt that this was a heartwarming story. Several
comments were made about the story being sad, but one student replied it was a
“good kind of sad.” Students liked that it was a true story which described a
unique part of history during WWI. One group summed it up by stating, “We
want to meet Rags.”
information on War Dogs of WWI and an epilogue that describes how Rags spent
his final years are included.
Theis Raven was born in Indianapolis, IN on August 30, 1950 and died in Mt.
Pleasant, SC on August 16, 2014. Raven was an accomplished fine art
painter and a national award winning author. Rags: Hero Dog of WWI was her last book and was released just weeks
before her death. Petra Brown, the illustrator, lives in North Wales, UK
and has been a children’s book illustrator since 2006. (PEGI ECKER)