The Streak – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Having recently reviewed Barb Rosenstock’s fabulous bio of Yogi Berra, I thought I’d reviewed Barb Rosenstock’s THE STREAK: How Joe Dimaggio Became America’s Hero….but it turns out I hadn’t—until now.

Baseball fans are familiar with how superstitious ball players can be. They wear their favorite socks, carry a luck talisman, or perform a key ritual before heading out onto the field. And often, well, especially if you follow the Cubs, fans can be more superstitious than the players. (Not revealing anything about myself, mind you….)

For Joe Dimaggio, his “luck” centered around his bat, Betsy Ann. But as the following blurbs reveal, this book is much more than a story about “luck” or “superstition.” It’s about how baseball and Joe’s heroic feat became a metaphor for an entire country during the summer before we entered WWII. Rosenstock’s research rewards her with quotes that support her theme:

From the publisher:

In the summer of 1941, Yankee center fielder Joe DiMaggio and his favorite bat, Betsy Ann, begin the longest hitting streak in baseball history. But when Betsy Ann goes missing, will DiMaggio keep hitting? Set on the brink of World War II, this is a spellbinding account of a sports story that united the country and made DiMaggio a hero, at a time when one was profoundly needed. Barb Rosenstock’s action-packed text and Terry Widener’s powerful illustrations capture DiMaggio’s drive as well as his frustration.

From School Library Journal:

Rosenstock also captures the drama…how a player from humble beginnings with hands that were used to hard work now held a bat, how DiMaggio named his bat “Betsy Ann” and only used it for games, and how the bat was stolen on the very day he was to break the previously held record….

From Booklist:

Rosenstock cranks up the significance of DiMaggio’s as-yet-unbeaten 56-game hitting streak, in 1941. She does this through a dramatic season recap with the rising game numbers in red, and by taking note of the war tensions that heightened in parallel that summer. Joltin’ Joe’s game bat, nicknamed Betsy Ann, practically becomes another character, and the tale of its theft and recovery midcourse further raises the suspense….

image copyright: Terry Widener

And yes, I cried at the end……

RESOURCES/ACTIVITIES: 

Make a baseball snack mix

Combine baseball and playing with numbers

Baseball and geometry lesson plans

Baseball crafts

TITLE: The Streak: How Joe Dimaggio Became America’s Hero

AUTHOR: Barb Rosenstock

ILLUSTRATOR: Terry Widener

PUBLISHER: Calkins Creek, 2014

THEMES: Baseball, overcoming adversity, WWII

AGES: PreK-3rd grade

9 thoughts on “The Streak – Perfect Picture Book Friday

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Funny you should mention that goat. I’d written a snarky picture book from the goat’s POV and then the Cubs won the World Series. Clearly, my book was powerful enough to break the curse—even if it remained unpublished. Not that Cubs’ fans take personal responsibility for the success or failure of their team, or anything. That’s merely idle gossip.

  1. Patricia Tilton says:

    I enjoy a good baseball story about legends. It was such an interesting period of time, with the WWII looming. Sounds like a great read. I agree with Mike, I think you should revisit your goat story as the timing may be just right!

  2. Kate Johnston says:

    My son’s soccer coach once told the boys none of them could get haircuts before the state championship game–somehow he had connected their long, shaggy tresses with an undefeated season. Well, it worked, as far as superstitions go–none of them got haircuts and they won the state championship. Guess superstitions are a sports-in-general thing.

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