From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5–This sparkling picture-book biography is a worthy tribute to an individual whose greatness extended beyond the baseball field and whose stature continues to grow. The lively text highlights the achievements of his incredible career: his extraordinary fielding, his leadership in guiding the Pittsburgh Pirates to two World Series wins, and the accomplishment of recording 3000 hits. The author also imbues his subject with character: Clemente was notable for his generosity and as a trailblazer for Latino ballplayers. He struggled throughout his career with a condescending press, but after his performance in the 1971 World Series, no one could deny his greatness. The book ends with Clemente's tragic death in a plane crash as he was attempting to bring aid to victims of an earthquake in Central America. The illustrations, with their trademark swirls and detailed cross-hatchings, are perfectly suited to the text. Colón alternates between full-color and black-and-white drawings: they add detail and drama, and the book's overall design is striking. Both author and illustrator are at the top of their game here. A delight for sports lovers as well as general readers.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
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Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. Roberto Clemente played most of his major-league baseball career in the shadow of the slightly older Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, and Hank Aaron, emerging only in the early 1970s as the premier player in the game. Then tragedy struck. In 1972, Clemente's plane, carrying aid to earthquake victims in Central America, crashed off the shores of his native Puerto Rico. Winter tells the unabashedly inspirational story of how Clemente's passionate love of the game and unrivaled work ethic took him from poverty in Puerto Rico (his first baseball glove was made from a coffee-bean sack) to World Series triumph with the Pittsburgh Pirates and, later, after his death, to near-mythic status as a role model for young Latino ballplayers. Soaked in pastoral greens and browns, Colon's evocatively grainy, soft-focus illustrations, rendered with a mix of watercolors, colored pencils, and litho pencils, capture perfectly the worlds in which Clemente was most at home: the tropics and the baseball diamond. Baseball history brought vividly to life for a younger audience. Bill OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved