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Mickey Mantle: The Commerce Comet Hardcover – February 7, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—The cover image of a steely-eyed Mickey Mantle, bat aloft over his shoulder, sets the stage for an intimate look at the Hall of Famer. Mantle (1931–95) shattered records but struggled throughout his life to live up to expectations. ("Where Mickey came from, you had to be strong—tough, too.") Mantle battled childhood injuries and illness, but his father was determined to train him to be a ballplayer. In his teens, Mantle "shot up like Jack's beanstalk" and signed with the Yankees the day he graduated from high school. After a stint in the minors, he arrived in New York along with news of his speed and hitting prowess. He was slated to replace the great Joe DiMaggio ("The torch was being passed. [GULP] Greatness would be expected."). Winter relates the ups and downs of Mantle's career with zest: "Oh, if only, if only, Mickey could have stayed the way he was on that day, forever young, forever healthy, forever limitless in what he could do." Instead, there were slumps and injuries, including the horrific knee injury in the second game of the 1951 World Series. Mantle battled back: "What Mantle had was EMOTION, a FIRE inside that caused him to CRUSH the ball." Payne's mixed-media illustrations convey emotions and character. In one spread, DiMaggio and Mantle pose for photographers: well-mannered DiMaggio a half-step behind Mantle, who smiles shyly, eyes distant. Payne varies perspective to great effect: an image of Mantle's famous "tape-measure home run" zeroes in on the ball at the apex of its flight, with the ballpark far in the distance. VERDICT Highly recommended for school and public libraries, this nuanced look at one of baseball's iconic players has lessons for fans young and old.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
“This striking book deserves a wide audience.” —School Library Journal, Starred Review
“In an engagingly conversational narrative laced with baseball lingo, Winter (You Never Heard of Casey Stengel?!) vividly traces Mickey Mantle’s trajectory from a small child with a bone disease to one of America’s most beloved baseball players. ” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Praise for Jonah Winter's You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!:
“Hand this book to kids unconvinced by Koufax’s mind-boggling numbers, or to the ones who know why they’re so mind boggling to begin with.” —Booklist, Starred
"Not just a home run, this book is a grand slam." —Publishers Weekly, Starred
“This striking book deserves a wide audience.” —School Library Journal, Starred
Praise for Jonah Winter's You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!:
"Magnificent. Winter’s heartfelt, accessible text is infused with immediacy and enthusiasm. Widener’s lush, expressive paintings pull the reader right into the game." —The New York Times Book Review
“Even adults who are indifferent to baseball will likely be so drawn into Mays’s story and Winter’s rousing text that they’ll want to gather up a crowd just to read this one aloud.” —The Bulletin, Starred
“A must-have for baseball fans.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred
“An all-star gem to share with grandparents, parents, children, baseball fans and anyone else.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred
“The Say Hey Kid had style to spare, and so does this irrepressible book.” —Booklist, Starred
Praise for Jonah Winter's You Never Heard of Casey Stengel?!:
“An entertaining account of Stengel’s career.” —The Wall Street Journal
"A first-rate picture book for baseball fans." —Booklist, Starred
“Highly entertaining." —Publishers Weekly, Starred
"This engaging title will have kids sprinting toward sports biographies to learn more about the many legendary players Stengel played ball with or managed." —School Library Journal, Starred
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Top customer reviews
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Aside from that piece of misinformation, everything else in the book are accurate. I also like the introduction to the book, which discusses the abuse that Mantle endured growing up from older people. It also mentions Mantle's well publicized battle with alcoholism, which ultimately caused his death.
The book, which chronicles Mantle's early life and extends into playing career, is a must-have for any Mantle fan or even baseball fans who are wanting to teach their children about Mantle. But if I had been the author, I would've done more research on at least the part that details the longest home run ever hit.
In the end, I think three stars is appropriate.