Yogi: The Life, Loves, and Language of Baseball Legend Yogi Berra
Author: Barb Rosenstock
Illustrator: Terry Widener
Published February 5th, 2019 by Calkins Creek
Summary: The life and famous words, such as “it ain’t over till it’s over,” of Major League Baseball player and New York Yankee Lawrence “Yogi” Berra are celebrated in this nonfiction picture book.
Yogi Berra loved his family, his neighborhood, his friends, and, most of all, baseball. He was crazy for it, ever since he was a young kid playing with friends in an abandoned dump. But baseball didn’t love him back–at least not at first. Yogi was different. He didn’t have the right look. When he finally made it to the major leagues, Yogi faced pranks and harassment from players, sportswriters, and fans. Their words hurt, but they made Yogi determined to show all that he could do. This book looks at the talents, loves, and inspirational words of this celebrated New York Yankee and American icon, who earned a World Series ring for each finger and made baseball love him back.
About the Creators:
Barb Rosenstock is best known for her many picture book biographies, including Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library, Ben Franklin’s Big Splash,The Streak, Dorothea’s Eyes, and Blue Grass Boy, all published by Calkins Creek. Her other recent titles include a picture book about Vincent Van Gogh, Vincent Can’t Sleep, and a picture book about Vasily Kandinsky, The Noisy Paint Box, which won the 2015 Caldecott Honor Medal. She lives outside Chicago with her family. Visit her at barbrosenstock.com.
Terry Widener is the award-winning illustrator of many picture books on athletes, including The Streak: How Joe DiMaggio Became America’s Hero, Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings, American Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle,and Lou Gehrig, The Luckiest Man. He is also the illustrator of The Kite That Bridged Two Nations by Alexis O’Neill. He lives in McKinney, Texas, with his wife and is the father of three grown children. Visit him at terrywidenerart.com.
*“This excellent character study will be useful as a model for students writing research-based biographies since it includes extensive author’s notes, baseball statistics, a note about Yogi-isms, and secondary quotes about the man himself, but it will loved most of all by Yankees fans.” –School Library Connection, starred review
“(T)his picture-book biography…does an excellent job covering Berra as both baseball player and cultural icon. Widener’s illustrations…ably capture Berra’s short stature and big personality. Thorough back matter concludes the book, including a double-page spread of Berra’s ‘amazing’ stats, a bibliography, an author’s note, several photographs, and source notes.” –The Horn Book
“Rosenstock covers all the bases, focusing on Yogi’s great love of baseball, his determination to succeed, and, most of all, his longing for baseball to love him back. His perplexing, witty, and wise ‘Yogi-isms’ are incorporated in the text as well as appearing in large, hand-lettered blurbs within the illustrations. Widener’s colorful, muscular acrylic cartoons…beautifully capture his essence. A loving homage to a charismatic baseball hero.” –Kirkus Reviews
“(A) loving tribute to New York Yankee baseball legend Yogi Berra. Back matter documents his amazing career… and complement the storylike text that introduces a simple Italian kid from Saint Louis who loved his family, loved his friends, and really, really loved baseball. The illustrations capture the wistful, nostalgic mood… readers will come away with an appreciation for both the amazing athlete and the humble, unique individual. Source notes, a bibliography, and additional background information elevate this offering into viable research material, making this an entertaining and worthy addition to sports biography collections.” –Booklist
Review: I am always so impressed with Barb Rosenstock’s multi-faceted biographies.
- You can tell she is a historian because of the accurate and well-represented history of whomever she is writing about as well as the detailed and interesting back matter that is included in her books. This one particularly is impressive with its research notes, statistics, Yogi-isms, and quotes about Yogi.
- You can tell she is a master storyteller because her biographies are never dry history but are instead a beautiful narrative that brings the subject and their story to life.
- You can tell she is a caring person because of the themes she incorporates within her stories and the people she chooses to write about.
- With Yogi, you can tell she is a baseball fan because she represents the sport with the heart that those of us who love baseball can feel.
All of this, paired with an illustrator that brings movement and emotions to life, lends to a very engaging picture book biography!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This text is a perfect addition to the classroom with its many uses across literacy, history, physical education, and math!
Educators’ Guide provided by the publisher:
- How did the author incorporate “Yogi-isms” throughout the narrative? Choose one quote and explain how it fits in with the story.
- Read the quotes about Yogi in the backmatter. Find evidence from the story to support the statements made by these individuals.
- Make a list of character traits that Yogi Berra displayed in the story. Find evidence to support these traits.
- Words hurt. But Yogi wouldn’t let them stop him. What does this tell you about him?
- In what way do you think Yogi Berra impacted the players around him the most?
- What makes Yogi Berra one of the best baseball players ever? Use evidence to support your statements.
- Why do you think his parents let him go play baseball but not his brother?
- In what way did the author and illustrator compare Yogi’s job as a gunner’s mate during World War II and his job as a catcher in the MLB?
Read This If You Love: Baseball, Picture Book Biographies, Quotable Quotes
Don’t Miss the Other Stops on the Blog Tour!
Monday, 3/18 Mile High Reading
Tuesday, 3/19 Book Q&A’s with Deborah Kalb
Wednesday, 3/20 Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Thursday, 3/21 Behind the Scenes @BMP
Friday, 3/22 Anatomy of Nonfiction
Monday, 3/25 The Nonfiction Detectives
Wednesday, 3/27 KidLit Frenzy
Thursday, 3/28 Celebrate Picture Books
Friday, 3/29 Unleashing Readers
**Thank you to Boyds Mills Press for providing a copy for review and giveaway!**
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