Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy

Bildner, Phil

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young, 2006
ISBN 10: 0689874375 / ISBN 13: 9780689874376
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Synopsis: No one knew better than Shoeless Joe Jackson what was needed to become the best baseball player ever: a good bat. And no one knew more about bats than Ol' Charlie Ferguson of South Carolina, a good friend of Joe's. With love, nurture, and a lot of hard work, the two friends created Black Betsy -- the finest bat in all the land. And with a bat the likes of her by his side, you can bet Joe went all the way to the major leagues!

Review: Shoeless Joe Jackson became a baseball legend by batting the highest average by a rookie in his first full season in the major leagues and for having once played a game in his stocking feet when his new shoes were giving him blisters. But in this folksy, fictionalized picture book by rookie author Phil Bildner and illustrator C.F. Payne (The Remarkable Farkle McBride, by John Lithgow), readers are introduced to the real reason Shoeless Joe became such a great hitter. Falling into a slump, Joe goes to a bat-making friend, searching for the perfect bat. Black Betsy is the one: 36 inches long, and weighing 48 ounces, it was made from the north side of a hickory tree and rubbed down with tobacco juice to turn it black and mean looking. Bildner's down-home language, packed with lots of "I reckons" and "ain'ts," captures the early 1900s era, as do Payne's grainy illustrations, verging on caricatures. An afterword provides additional information on this appealing character from sports history. (Ages 5 to 9) --Emilie Coulter

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Title: Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young
Publication Date: 2006
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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