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No Easy Way: the Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season Hardcover – February 4, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (February 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525478779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525478775
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.4 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–5—Bowen's picture-book tribute introduces readers to a baseball great whose strong, smooth swing, eagle eye, and tireless work ethic accompanied him from an impoverished childhood to the major leagues. In his rookie season with the Boston Red Sox, he hit .327, belted out 31 home runs, and earned nicknames like "the Splendid Splinter." In 1941, many players were readying to fight in World War II; Williams would join up once the season finished. Nonetheless, it was "a magic summer for baseball" with Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak and, as the summer wore on, the thrilling possibility that Williams might hit .400 for the season. Red Sox fan Bowen wears his heart on his sleeve, but he captures all of the drama as Williams's pursuit of the record books came down to the final games of the season. Pyle's brilliantly composed paintings, reminiscent of 1940s book illustrations, underscore the baseball action and teem with period details. Newsboys hawk papers on street corners, soda jerks serve up ice-cream cones, and through it all strides the tall, determined figure of Williams. Two-color borders, plenty of white space, and a smattering of black-and-white photos add to the overall appeal, and Williams's 1941 stats are reproduced on the back cover. Together, the text and artwork create a warmly realized portrait of this icon and his significance in baseball history. This winning book should resonate with a wide audience.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Usually, only a handful of Major League baseball players hit .300 or better for a full season, making the fact that Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams hit more than .400 in 1941 seem all the more incredible. Bowen’s recounting of Williams’ remarkable year begins with a young boy’s determination to become “the greatest hitter who ever lived” but quickly moves on to the last day of the 1941 season. At that point, Williams was batting .39955, which would have rounded up to .400, prompting the notion that Ted should sit out the final doubleheader. Williams, however, was having none of it: he always knew there was “no easy way” to become the greatest, so he played both games, amassing six hits and ending the season at .406. Unlike many decades-old baseball stories, this one hasn’t lost its appeal over the years, and Bowen makes the most of it in terms kids will understand. Pyle’s illustrations, combined with vintage photographs, capture the drama of Williams at bat, especially his long stride and powerful follow-through. Grandparents will enjoy reading this one to young fans. Grades 1-3. --Bill Ott

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 6 customer reviews
Ted Williams loved baseball.
D. Fowler
This book is a great addition to baseball collections, and could be enjoyed by baseball fans young and old.
M. Tanenbaum
Read to grades 3 & 4 in the school library.
Candyce Walters

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ted Williams loved baseball. No, you can't really say that because he had a passion, a real passion. When he was a boy in sunny California he would get up in the morning to race to school so he could hit in the pickup games and later in the afternoon he was back at it. He was just a poor San Diego boy with big dreams, but he was determined to become the "greatest hitter whoever lived." To be the best of anything you have to practice, but he was a boy who didn't shy away from hard work. Practice, play, practice, play, practice, play . . . he worked so hard at times that "blisters popped up like mushrooms on his hands." No one said success would come easy, but Ted was determined and persistent. Practice, play . . .

He played at junior high, high school, and then for several minor-league teams. Ted kept practicing and playing until he "was good enough for the major leagues." He was elated when he stepped off the train in Boston. His rookie year was sensational and the newspapers began to give him flattering nicknames. A .327 batting average was nothing to sneeze at, but there was something else he had his eye on and that was a .400. No one had ever done that before. Practice, play, practice, play, practice, play . . . those blisters had long ago turned to calluses. At the end of the season in 1941 he was pounding that ball like no tomorrow. His average was up, it was down and with just two games before the end of the season his average was .39955, technically a .400. Was Ted going to risk it and play those two games or was he going to rest on his laurels and stay on the bench?

This exciting book will bring back memories for the old timers and create some new young fans for the great Ted Williams.
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Format: Hardcover
No matter who does the ranking, no baseball fan would argue about Ted Williams being one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Yet there are not a lot of books for young people about him, perhaps because in addition to being a great player, he was also known for being temperamental, demanding, and having an adversarial relationship with the press and sometimes with fans. I was therefore eager to read Fred Bowen's new picture book about this baseball icon. Bowen, as a sports columnist and a writer of sports fiction for kids, seems particularly well qualified to tackle this subject.

Rather than write a conventional biography of Williams, Bowen chose to concentrate on Williams' 1941 season with the Red Sox, the year he hit .406, a feat no other baseball player has come close to equalling in the following 60 or so years. We learn a bit about Williams' background growing up in San Diego in the 1930's, during the Depression. Right away Williams' enormous ambition is highlighted:
From the time he was young, he knew exactly what he wanted to be. "My dream was to walk down the street and have people say, 'There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.'"
Bowen emphasizes Williams' dedication to the sport, and the hours he spent practicing, before and after school, until blisters grew into hard, ugly calluses on his hands. Why spend so much time practicing? Because Ted "knew there was no easy way to become the greatest hitter who ever lived. No easy way to do the single most difficult thing in sports: to hit a round ball with a round bat." No other player, Bowen tells us, practiced more than Ted, even when he made the major leagues, not only swinging the bat over and over but also squeezing rubber balls to make his wrists and forearms strong.
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By Candyce Walters on May 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read to grades 3 & 4 in the school library. The book was enjoyed by all. We are working to get the Fred Bowen Series into our school library.
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No Easy Way: the Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season
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