From Publishers Weekly
This first collaboration between a husband-and-wife team offers an informal, anecdotal profile of Leroy "Satchel" Paige, one of the all-time great baseball players of the Negro League, the first black pitcher to play in the major leagues and the first black inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The author's style is conversational and flavorful: after explaining that Paige, the seventh of 12 children, earned money for his family by toting travelers' luggage at the train depot, she writes, "When dimes weren't enough, Leroy took to stealing. And when he could no longer run fast enough, it was stealing that caught him." Sent to reform school at age 12, Paige joined its baseball team and was thrilled to encounter "real leather balls (not the ones your mama made with a rock and a rag) and real wooden bats, too." Kids will enjoy her occasional hyperbole: "[When he stood on the mound], his foot looked to be about a mile long, and when he shot [the ball] into the air, it seemed to block out the sun. Satch's arm seemed to stretch on forever, winding, bending, twisting." Ransome's (Let My People Go) tightly edited, boldly hued oil paintings capture the on-field prowess as well as the personality of the quick-witted, feisty Paige. More sculptural than kinetic, they express the qualities of a man who often seemed larger than life. This vivid book is a fitting tribute to a baseball hero. Ages 6-10. (Jan.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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From School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Leroy Paige was born into a poor family in Mobile, Alabama, around 1906. He earned the nickname "Satchel," while working at Mobile's train depot, carrying satchels for travelers. In his family of 12 children, money was always tight. A talented pitcher, he never considered baseball as a career until he landed in reform school for stealing. A coach suggested he focus on baseball; after that, there was no stopping him. His blend of talent and showmanship propelled him from semi-pro ball to stardom in the Negro Leagues to pitch in the newly integrated Major Leagues, earning a spot in Cooperstown's Baseball Hall of Fame. Baseball's greatest anecdotes usually have an air of tall-tale about them, and Satchel's winning ways and personality make for a biography that is as entertaining as fiction. Imagine facing his famous "bee ball," which would always "be" where he wanted it to be. Lesa Cline-Ransome writes in a folksy manner, and Dion Graham's relaxed Southern voice is a perfect complement, enhanced with sound effects and music. Though long on text, the book's large size and Graham's narration combine to offer children a chance to pore over visual details. Playing in the Negro Leagues was not always a bed of roses, but James Ransome's oil paintings highlight Paige's joi de vivre and joi de baseball. Page-turn signals are optional,-Lisa Taylor, Ocean County Library, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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