When Jackie and Hank Met

illus. by Mark Elliott. 40p. photos. bibliog. chron. further reading. Web sites. CIP. Marshall Cavendish. 2012. RTE $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-6140-1; ebook $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-6141-8. LC 2011016405.
Gr 1–3—This year marks the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier, and this book touches on that event while also recognizing the efforts of Hank Greenberg, one of the first Jewish players in the Major Leagues. Fishman uses distance as a literary device to emphasize two individuals who, while far apart physically for most of their lives, were in fact in close proximity due to their efforts to ensure equality within the world of professional baseball. She often mentions the mileage between them, yet distance is continually trumped by similarities and experiences. When a single play finally brought them side by side on the first-base line at Forbes Field, these two men met with a handshake and mutual admiration, though it is suggested that the crowd was hoping to see a fight. The author includes biographical information about each player as well as time lines of important dates in their lives, but in all of her extensive notes and recommended sources, she does not reveal if there was any actual impact from the incident at the time. Nonetheless, the book is thought-provoking because it shows how shared purposes can connect, even if only in passing. The acrylic illustrations support the text with several split-page portraits, showing Jackie and Hank sharing similar experiences long before they actually met. The book will certainly have appeal to baseball fans, and is a good recommendation for older readers who still like to read picture books.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
This joint biography parallels Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg--baseball players who both faced prejudice because Robinson was African American and Greenberg was Jewish. Beginning with their births, Fishman traces their careers until their fateful 1947 collision at first base, where Greenberg encouraged Robinson to ignore the heckling. Elliott's figurative art is handsome but stiff.

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