THE UNFORGETTABLE SEASON
The Story of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of ’41
By Phil Bildner
Illustrated by S.D. Schindler
Putnam. $16.99, ages 4-8
Just in time for opening day: an engaging, well-illustrated chronicle of 70-year-old hitting milestones that remain unbroken. In 1941, Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games while Ted Williams finished the season with a batting average above .400. Excitement spread well beyond New York when DiMaggio’s streak extended into July and the hit song “Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio” played day and night on the radio. Phil Bildner recounts that Williams could have played it safe by sitting out the last two games of the season with his .39955 average rounded up to .400 for the record books.But instead he played, adding six more hits and ending the year at .406. In his last at bat, as Bildner excitedly describes it, he walloped “a double that rocketed off the loudspeaker horns atop the outfield wall and ricocheted all the way back to the infield!” S.D. Schindler’s clean-lined illustrations bring to mind the pristine clarity of the baseball field; a particularly amusing one shows DiMaggio shocking a pitcher with a base hit up the middle — right between his legs.
How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World
By Allan Drummond
Farrar Straus Giroux. $16.99, ages 6-10
Because a surprising number of illustrator-author Allan Drummond’s subjects — in picture books such as “Moby Dick” and “The Flyers” (about the Wright Brothers) — have been visibly windswept, it seems natural that his latest book should concern harnessing the power of wind. Drummond invents a youngish native of Denmark’s Samso island to be his narrator-tour guide and show why Samso, a.k.a. Energy Island, should be a model for us all, with its massive reduction of carbon emissions and wide-ranging efforts toward energy independence. The guide takes readers through Samso’s initial reliance on traditional energy sources to power its lights and vehicles to the gradual adoption of alternative energy, including both small and large wind turbines. One double-page spread contrasts the construction of a small wind turbine with a massive one that required a ship, giant trucks and two huge cranes to put it in place. Drummond fills his pages with detailed images of a variety of scenes that soften the didactic story line, while sidebars describe a range of energy-related issues from renewable energy to climate change.