THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO

Framing his plaint as a Dad answering his daughter’s question one opening day at Fenway Park, a sportswriter for the Boston Globe recaps Babe Ruth’s early career as a Red Sox star and his infamous sale to the Yankees. Then he goes on to tally the succession of heartbreaking, last-minute bobbles and defeats that denied the Sox a World Series win for the next eight and a half decades. Recalling the art for his edition of Ernest L. Thayer’s Casey at the Bat (2003), Payne presents a series of on-field scenes featuring many recognizable players in old-style uniforms. Over them looms The Babe, sometimes taller than Fenway’s Green Monster, invisibly holding Johnny Pesky back from throwing home in the ’46 Series, blowing Bucky Dent’s homer over the wall in that ’78 playoff game, and giving Mookie Wilson’s grounder a nudge to send it trickling between Bill Buckner’s legs. Curse or just coincidence? Shaughnessy declines to come down on one side or the other, and the Red Sox’s win in 2004, commemorated by a spread that drops the perfunctory plotline and bears other signs of hasty construction, makes it all moot anyway. Or so Sox fans would like to think. (afterword, brief bibliography) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-689-87235-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2005

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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