From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6–There's just too much going on in this unevenly told, short novel. In 1947, Joey is a recently orphaned nine-year-old; his mother had a drug problem and her death leaves him on his own. He is of mixed race and knows little about his family. Then he learns that his African-American father is dead, but that he has relatives on his mother's side who live in nearby Brooklyn and are willing to take him in. Joey finds out that his mother was Jewish, and after she eloped, her family severed all ties with her. He has some trouble fitting into his new home, but gradually he finds a place. He enjoys learning about Jewish customs and finds a close companion in his cousin Bobbi, a fellow baseball fan. A Yankees aficionado, he can't help but be impressed with the Dodgers' star rookie, Jackie Robinson. Unfortunately, Joey is not a fully realized character and the supporting characters are one-dimensional. The plot follows an all-too-predictable course. Also, Schwartz writes that in the opening game of the 1947 World Series, Robinson stole home, then admits in an afterword that this is untrue. Even with this admission, baseball fans will find this distortion of the facts unacceptable: Robinson's achievements, both on and off the field need no elaboration. Steer young readers toward Dan Gutman's Jackie and Me
(HarperCollins, 1999) for a readable and accurate story featuring Jackie Robinson.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Joey, an orphaned, mixed-race 10-year-old isn't the only one who has to make adjustments after he's taken in by Jewish relatives he never knew he had. Wondering why his mother never told him about her side of the family, Joey moves to Brooklyn--to find a warm welcome from Aunt Frieda, an instant ally in baseball-loving cousin Bobbie, and a decidedly cold shoulder from his grandfather, who is still angry and hurt by his daughter's choices. Joey also discovers that he has exchanged one set of racial prejudices (and epithets) for another; skin too light for some in his old neighborhood is too dark for some in his new one. Although he arrives with a startlingly fresh mouth, ready fists, and total scorn for the Brooklyn Dodgers (despite rookie Jackie Robinson), by the end Joey has begun to put his hostility aside, found ways to win over his grandfather, Zeyde, and even come around to being a Dodger fan. Keenly felt internal conflicts, lightened by some sparky banter, put this more than a cut above the average. A historical note is appended. John PetersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved