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You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!by Jonah Winter
Synopses & Reviews
Witness the incredible record-breaking season of 1941!
At the start of the 1941 baseball season, neither Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees nor Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox were beloved by baseball fans. But all that changed when Joe started a 56-game hitting streak and Tedand#8217;s batting average rose to over .400. Despite the challenges along the way, the records set by these two baseball icons still live on today.
"The huge lenticular cover image of pitcher Sandy Koufax in action makes this book hard to ignore; Winter's fan-in-the-stands-style prose and Carrilho's high-impact, editorial-style images make it hard to forget. Neither author nor artist 'explain' the famously self-contained 1960s Dodgers pitcher ('Just when you were startin' to understand him, he'd haul off and throw you a curve,' says the anonymous former teammate who serves as narrator). Instead, they capture what it feels like to be in the presence of an exemplary athlete. The obstacles that Sandy Koufax faced — physical limitations; anti-Semitism ('Some of the guys said some pretty lousy things behind his back — things I can't repeat') — are portrayed with zero sentiment; readers will root for Koufax because he is an engine of pure action. Debut artist Carrilho, offering texturally complex, digitally manipulated pencil drawings, has a bold, arresting aesthetic: while his harsh shadows, distorted perspectives and angular faces speak of a hardboiled reality, the baseball field itself is a storied place, rendered not in green but gold. Koufax becomes a figure of totemic strength, his eyes narrowing to black slits underneath bushy eyebrows, his body twisting as he delivers the perfect pitch. Not just a home run, this book is a grand slam. Ages 4 — 9." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Just in time for Opening Day — and Passover — comes this gorgeous tribute to the legendary left-handed pitcher who famously sat out a World Series game in observance of Yom Kippur. Starting with the cover, which holographically approximates a Koufax pitch from windup to release, the book captures the precise actions of baseball, the combination of patience and power that can lead to grand slams or... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) shutouts. Winter uses Koufax's career low points — the inconsistent pitches, the time he quit by throwing his uniform into the trash — to heighten the drama as Koufax suddenly, mysteriously relaxes and tames his pitches into strikes in 1962. Beyond relaying Koufax's impressive stats, Winter conveys a sense of wonder for his achievements, not only with some choice quotes (Willie Stargell: "Hitting a Koufax fastball was like trying to drink coffee with a fork") but also through an unnamed narrator, a self-described Dodgers old-timer, who injects some Brooklyn-accented boosterism into the proceedings. Andre Carrilho's arresting illustrations bestow grandeur upon Koufax's career in deep Dodger blue, as well as golden browns and grays that recall period black-and-white footage, with sharp accents of red. Everything is heroically exaggerated, from the size of Koufax's generous nose and the seriousness of his "mug" to the arch of his back as he readies his pitch. As the narrator puts it, "What a thing of beauty that was." Reviewed by Abby McGanney Nolan, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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About the Author
Jonah Winter is the author of Muhammed Ali: Champion of the World, Roberto Clemente, and Dizzy. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
André Carrilho is the illustrator of Porch Lies by Patricia McKissack, which received three starred reviews. This is his first picture book. He lives in Lisbon, Portugal.
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