From School Library Journal
Grade 1-5-Using the complete lyrics to the classic song, Burke creates a rollicking glimpse of baseball's early days. It's 1908, and Katie is devoted to her beloved New York Giants and their ace pitcher, Christy Mathewson. While she and her beau enjoy a hotly contested game, Burke adds tidbits of trivia. Readers learn about Mathewson, the Polo Grounds, pitching, umpires and hand signals, and Cracker Jack, which was introduced in 1893. Fans will enjoy these anecdotes, and many more. The lively paintings capture the infectious excitement of the big game, and Pete Hamill contributes a stirring introduction. Report writers will have to look elsewhere for the complete story, but, overall, Burke has fashioned a sparkling introduction to an exhilarating period in baseball history.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
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Gr. 2-4. The complete lyrics of the famous baseball song, some of which will be unfamiliar to young readers, provide the framework for this commentary on a legendary New York game: the historic and still controversial 1908 showdown between the New York Giants and the Chicago Cubs. Each spread prominently features a line from the song as well as boxed text featuring information about this particular game, plenty of turn-of-the-century baseball trivia, and notes about the song lyrics (the history of Cracker Jack, for instance). Facing pages showcase Burke's stately oil paintings on gessoed board, which build a narrative around the song's little-known fictional character Katie Casey, imagined here as a fan attending the game. An introduction by veteran author and New Yorker Pete Hamill establishes broader historical context, and full song lyrics with musical notation are appended (along with a reproduction of composer Jack Norworth's original manuscript). Despite generous visuals, the history here is dense and eclectically presented; offer this to young readers who are just moving beyond picture books and passionate about the sport. GraceAnne DeCandidoCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved