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Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson - Against the Odds    by Robert Burleigh & Mike Wimmer order for
Stealing Home
by Robert Burleigh
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Jackie Robinson's legacy is lovingly retold in this spectacularly illustrated picture book. The story tells how Jackie Robinson broke new ground in baseball by breaking the color barrier. 

This book is really two stories in one, and can be read accordingly based on the age of the child. There is a shorter story of Robinson's baseball playing days, which is really one long, visual sentence:

'Arms outstretched to keep
his delicate balance,
number 42 dances his odd,
pigeon-toed dance off third base
and down the dirt-scumbled
and chalk-lined path leading
to home plate ninety feet away,
as the packed, white-shirted crowd
wakes to a visible electricity

Then on each page, geared toward an older child, there are baseball card-sized boxes, giving greater detail about Jackie Robinson's effect on the Brooklyn Dodgers, and on American baseball in general. The author gives insight into the challenges Robinson faced as a black man playing professional sports in the 1940s, among other information about this important athlete.

The illustrations are nothing short of phenomenal. Looking at the faces of the crowd watching Jackie Robinson play baseball, popcorn flying in the air, joy on their faces, you might think you were looking at a photograph. The images are uncannily realistic; the colors and shading are gorgeous; the canvas, lush and evocative. This author/illustrator team has scored a homerun with a winner of a book.

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