by Jane Yolen, Illustrated by Jim Burke
Philomel Books, $17.99, 40 pages
This book combines two of my most favorite things: A Jane Yolen release, and baseball. Jane Yolen is the most prolific children’s writer imaginable, I’ve read dozens of her books to my own daughter. With All Star!: Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever, she’s hit yet another home run. Even dyed in the wool baseball fans can be forgiven, if when they think of the game’s greatest players, they forget the men who toiled at the beginning of the 20th century. Think of Honus Wagner as the A-Rod of his era, sans the “chemical enhancement”. He played with speed, power and grace. He was a gentleman, when baseball was the game of ruffians and scoundrels.
Jim Burke’s beautiful illustrations look like the baseball cards of the era. Painted, soft focus, alive with the motion of the game. All Star! is the perfect book for that youngster, just about ready to start T-ball. A children’s book that takes the young reader seriously. No talking bears, or licensed Japanese pop-icons here. Jane Yolen and Jim Burke deliver the goods one more time.
Reviewed by Bradley Wright