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BECOMING JOE DIMAGGIO by Maria Testa, illustrated by Scott Hunt

Posted in reviewku: plunder, middle grade, reviewku: poetry (all)


Growing up with Joe.

Baseball and Grandpa.  War.  Dreams.

Twenty four stories.


Nitty Gritty

Middle grade (ages 10 and up)

Verse novel – collection of 24 poems

Sports fiction

First person POV

Heavy baseball theme

Plot centered relentless on baseball, but strangely lacking in baseball lingo, action, language? Why not deeper exploration into sports analogies

Condensed timeline ramps emotion as country splinters and war looms

Iconic sports hero’s life as he makes peace with upcoming retirement parallels main character’s (Joseph Paul) life and making peace with father’s prison sentence

Themes of — evolving self awareness, adolescent awkwardness and maturing understanding of one boy’s hearts desire

Interpersonal relationships – boy and his grandfather, boy and his criminal father, boy and his hero, Joe DiMaggio

Verses reflect emotion (if not action)

But the biggest question that remains to the very end may be…why write this book in verse?