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Lipman Pike: America's First Home Run King Hardcover – February 14, 2011
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this for my class, but my maiden name is Pike. My grandfather immigratede to America and we are Jewish. Read morePublished on July 21, 2013 by Grandmother GiGi
It seemed like everyone in Brooklyn was playing Base, a wonderful ball game. The Pike family wanted their son, Lipman to succeed in school and so succeed in life. Read morePublished on December 20, 2011 by Debnance at Readerbuzz