Thursday, March 28, 2019

Yogi: The Life, Loves, and Language of Baseball Legend Yogi Berra - a review

It's baseball seasonmy favorite season of the year! What better way to kick off the season than with a review of a new baseball book? I'm no Yankee fan—anyone who knows me in person or online will attest to my affinity for the Phils, but it's hard not to admire Yogi Berra.

Yogi: The Life, Loves, and Language of Baseball Legend Yogi Berra
By Barb Rosenstock
Illustrated by Terry Widener
Calkins Creek, 2019

In this picture book for older readers, Barb Rosenstock offers a well-rounded look at baseball legend, Yogi Berra. Yogi is well-known for his many unintentionally humorous quotes, or "Yogi-isms," but no one would know of these if it were not for his phenomenally successful baseball career.  From childhood to retirement, Rosenstock shows that there was more to Yogi than skill and humor. Yogi was short, unattractive, and the son of Italian immigrants during a time when that was often a cause for ridicule or discrimination—but that did not hamper his good nature, determination, or enthusiasm for baseball.  When fans or players taunted him for being ugly,
"So?" Yogi said. "I don't hit with my face."  He ignored the name-calling and let his bat do the talking.
Yogi loved his family, his friends, his country, and baseball. Terri Widener's acrylic illustrations eschew details in favor of creating illustrations that convey the mood or action of the the text on each page. The text is unobtrusive in a small black font, however, "Yogi-isms" appear in larger blue font with quotation marks. In most illustrations, Yogi is closely outlined in white, presumably so that kids will easily be able to pick him out of each illustration. Widener captures Yogi's endearing personality and his baseball prowess and acumen.

Author's Note, photographs, statistics, quotes, Bibliography, and Source Notes round out this picture book biography for older readers.  Sure to be a hit for baseball season—especially for Yankee fans.

Some Yogi: The Life, Loves, and Language of Baseball Legend Yogi Berra extras are below.

Peek inside Yogi here.

According to USA Today Sports, Yogi once said, "I’m lucky. Usually you’re dead to get your own museum, but I’m still alive to see mine."  If you're ever in the neighborhood of Little Falls, NJ, you can check out the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, too.
 My copy of Yogi: The Life, Loves, and Language of Baseball Legend Yogi Berra was provided by the publisher.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Song for a Whale - an audiobook review

Song for a Whale
By Lynne Kelly 
Read by Abigail Revasch
Penguin Random House Audio, 2019

I reviewed Song for a Whale for AudioFile Magazine.  I can't reprint my review here in its entirety, but I've linked it, and do hope you'll read it. []

There are not many middle grade books featuring deaf characters, and this one should be added to every library. Narrator, Abigail Revasch, and author, Lynne Kelly, convey in words and sounds what cannot be written or heard.  The song of a unique whale and the linguistic beauty of American Sign Language (ASL) are treated with wonder and reverence in this insightful glimpse into deaf culture.

Extra resources for Song for a Whale:

The author's notes on ASL and on the real whale that inspired this book were informative and likely to spark further interest in both topics. The author's notes are read by Lynne Kelly.

I know that I immediately went hunting for more information on the this unique whale.  Here's link to a Smithsonian article about the 52 Hz whale.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Dog Days of History - a review

Dog Days of History: The Incredible Story of Our Best Friends

By Sarah Albee
National Geographic, 2018

In nine chapters ranging from the beginning of recorded history, through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the modern era and the present day, Dog Days of History investigates the varied facets of the relationship between humans and canines.  Whether as companions, antagonists, status symbols, or employees, dogs have been with us from the beginning.  Dog Days uses a combination of dog photos and facsimiles of period artwork to illustrate our interactions with man's best friend.

Readers will learn a variety of wide-ranging facts such as the etymology of the words "cur" and "curtailed," and which dog was once exclusive to Chinese royalty and symbolized the lion. This middle grade nonfiction title will appeal to lovers of dogs and history and also to kids who enjoy compendiums and books of random facts.  There are plenty of illustrations to break up the text in this well-researched, 112-page book.

Research Notes, Author's Note, Select Biblidography (yes, you read that right), Rufferences (someone has a punny sense of humor), To Dig Up More Sources (other books to read), To Sniff Out Places to Visit (a collection of websites), Index, and Illustration Sources round out this glimpse of dogs throughout history.

How wonderful to learn interesting historical facts through the medium of man's best friend! I highly recommend this one.

Peek inside Dog Days of History here. 

 This may not be the best advertisement for this great book, but it's cute, nonetheless.

Beneath the Waves - a review

As we read disturbing news accounts of dying manatees , environmental disasters caused by toxic waste, and ocean pollution on the scale of ...