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Lipman Pike: America's First Home Run King Hardcover – February 14, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Finalist: 2011 National Jewish Book Award

Illustrated Children’s Books Category (Louis Posner Memorial Award)

Notable Book: 2012 Sydney Taylor Book Awards

Younger Readers Category

Lipman Pike pg 12
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Lipman Pike pg 29


"Michelson adeptly employs fictional conversations interwoven with factual details as he reconstructs a long-forgotten time, managing to bring Pike's story out of obscurity and relate it to modern young readers. ... An insight into baseball and America that is at once historical and timeless." --Kirkus, March 1, 2011
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press (February 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585364657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585364657
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #801,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review may seem a bit long to you. I wanted to consider the text and illustrations for a more complete sense of the book. (I left plenty out for you to discover when you buy your own copy.) Thanks for taking the time to read this!
If you count yourself as being one who finds it impossible to think of spring without thinking of baseball, then you'll enjoy reading Lipman Pike - America's First Home Run King (written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Zachary Pullen). Lipman Pikes' rise to early baseball fame is traced with an engaging and informative text along with colorful illustrations depicting baseball when it was simply called "base". Lip is the son of a Dutch immigrant, and readers meet him as a restless boy growing up in Brooklyn during the early 1800's. He learns how to play by watching the adults in the neighborhood enjoy the game. With the support of his brother (Boaz), and the eventual approval of his parents, Lip accepts an opportunity to play in his first official amateur match. During that contest, he hits the ball over the right fielder's head, and his love of the game grows. He later accepts an offer from a Pennsylvania team, The Athletics, to play for $20/week - making him the first professional baseball player in America. As his career progressed, he earned a reputation as a home run king by frequently leading his league in runs. Lip lived for only 48 years. He died of heart disease in 1893. He was remembered by friends and associates for his astonishing athletic ability and for offering "good manners", honest prices", and "fast service", in matters of business.
The chronology of Lip's baseball accomplishments, however, is not the only engaging aspect of this book. Some of the social challenges he faces as his career progresses are revealed as well.
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Format: Hardcover
Lipmann Pike is a biography of the first Jewish professional baseball player. Lip, as he was called, was born in 1845 to parents who immigrated to America from Holland. His father owned a haberdashery store in Brooklyn. Lip and his brother Boaz loved to run around the store getting items for the customers as if they were running the bases in a game of baseball. They say Lip was so fast he could outrun a racehorse. The boys loved watching the men play "Base" as they called the game of baseball then. They would even practice batting and throwing the baseball when their parents weren't watching because Jewish boys didn't play baseball. It was considered childish, according to their mother. In 1858 after Lip's Bar Mitzvah, he was invited to join the junior base team and play his first amateur match. On his first up at bat, he hit a home run. When Lip turned 21 he moved to Philadelphia to play for the Athletics and got paid $20 a week. Lip was the team's best player, but when the team learned that he was the only one paid and he was a Jew they voted him off the team. He then joined the New Jersey Irvingtons and then the New York Mutuals, when they formed professional teams, and eventually became captain of the Troy Haymakers. At the end of the story there is a section called: "The Rest Is History", which tells about the day in 1873, when Lip outran a racehorse in a hundred-yard sprint. He retired from baseball and opened up a haberdashery store like his father. He died in 1893 after playing baseball for about 40 years. The Author's Note tells about the beginning of baseball and a little of its history. The illustrations are large, appealing, sepia toned images with oversized heads that look like caricatures. They help to impart the look and feel of the historical era. Richard Michelson's research shows in the interesting details he has included of the time period. A child does not have to be a baseball fan to learn a lot from this enjoyable book. For ages 6 - 10. Barbara Silverman
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Format: Hardcover
By accepting twenty dollars a week to play third base for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1866, Lip Pike became baseball's first professional player.

But before that, Lip was just a boy who liked to run. He was the son of Dutch Jewish immigrants, whose father worked in a habadashery, and whose mother wasn't sure playing ball is for her nice, Jewish boy. The book takes the reader through Lip's early obstacles all the way to his professional success when he become America's first home run king.

Interwoven subtly through the story are the themes of assimilation (Lip's dad is OK with baseball becusase they live in America now) as well as the challenges of anti-semitism that Lip encounters from his fellow baseball players. Some great historical details are inlcuded, like a cameo from Boss Tweed of Tamany hall and the fact that the game Lip played is called 'base', since it wasn't yet named baseball.

The illustrations are beautifully painted in rich, warm tones and in a style that feels very appropriate to the period, yet still contemporary in some of it's stylizations. The time and research the illustrator put in shows: every detail from the look of the haberdashery shop, the women's parasols and the stadium all feel very true and accurate. My one critique of the illustrations is that there are a couple of images that don't seem to match the text on the page. For example, when the text reads that 'five thousand fans show up, and thousands crowd the fence', the illustrator shows the fence...but only about six people are standing by it watching the game .

I personally loved the story and history of the beginnings of baseball, but I am not sure all young children would. The nature of the book feels historical, important, and mature-not necessarily 'fun'.
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