The Streak Book Reviews
Publishers Weekly ★
“It started quietly, like a conversation with Joe DiMaggio himself.” With those words, Rosenstock transports readers to the summer of 1941, when war loomed and DiMaggio set a new MLB record with a 56-game hitting streak, uniting a nation: “This was the United States of Baseball, and Joe DiMaggio was its President.” Rosen-stock builds delicious tension and emotion as the streak grows (she also devotes some space to DiMaggio’s off-the-field upbringing), and Widener is equally in his element—one can almost feel DiMaggio’s baggy Yankee pinstripes rustling as he dashes to first base after yet another hit. Substantial back matter includes stats, bibliography, and an in-depth author’s note that covers DiMaggio’s relationship with his beloved bat, “Betsy Ann,” and offers further context about “the streak” and America’s entry into WWII. A rousing and inspiring account of an athletic achievement that has yet to be bested. Ages 8–up.
Author’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Mar.)
Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak is considered one of the greatest feats in baseball and the one least likely to be replicated. Everyone expected Joltin' Joe to pound out the hits, but as the consecutive games mounted up, the excitement built as well. The year 1941 was a difficult time, and people needed something to cheer about. "That one perfect summer" was the last summer of peacetime. All eyes were on DiMaggio each time he came to bat, and newspaper headlines screamed the daily tally. Rosenstock's game descriptions capture the momentum and let readers see and feel the events as if they were at the games. Along with play-by-play for some of the key hits, there's some fascinating information about DiMaggio's proud and determined character, as well as some lesser-known events. His favorite bat, "Betsy Ann," was stolen during the streak, later recovered and then broken. Widener's expansive, double-page illustrations, rendered in acrylic on bristol paper, in earth tones of green and gold, are larger than life, elongating DiMaggio as he takes his stance, rounds the bases or grips his bat. Each occurrence of the hit count and the word "streak" stands out from the rest of the text in heavy red display type. DiMaggio's remarkable hitting streak is freshly presented for a new generation of fans.
(afterword, author's note, statistics, source notes, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-10)
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews
In 1941, when headlines "shouted about the war spreading like a fever through Europe," the baseball heroics of Yankees great Joe DiMaggio offered a summertime respite. Starting on May 15th, he began a hitting streak that would beat all previous records and has yet to be surpassed. He hit in fifty-six straight games and, game by game, he brought excitement to the stadiums, as fans flocked to see if this would be the game the streak ended or if they would be able to boast that they were there to see number 41 or 42 or 43. DiMaggio and his bat "Betsy Ann" were legends in the making, and Rosenstock ably places baseball fever in the context of DiMaggio's times: "That summer, the crack of Joe's bat mixed with the swing-band rhythms on the radio and the drumbeats of the world at war. Streak, Streak, Streak." In his perfectly attuned acrylic illustrations, Widener is, as always, a master at capturing the larger-than-life spirit of baseball, and the text matches the art in its exuberance: "This was the United States of Baseball and Joe DiMaggio was its President."
Back matter includes an author's note, streak statistics, and an extensive bibliography. dean schneide Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.