You Never Heard of Casey Stengel?!
Jonah Winter, illus. by Barry Blitt. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-87013-2
Winter uses the same playfully irreverent narration he brought to his books about Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays to this highly entertaining introduction to Charles Dillon Stengel. Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1912, the “left-handed, bowlegged, wisecracking character” wasn’t initially taken seriously due to his pranks—like having a pilot fly over the field and drop grapefruits on his manager. Stengel went on to manage several lackluster teams, but after a (very) unexpected chance to manage the Yankees (“Reporters drop their pens. Furniture falls from the sky”), his unconventional tactics proved innovative. Blitt infuses his artwork with physical humor, and as readers follow Stengel through his highs, lows, and head-scratching in-betweens (like forgetting to put on pants before taking the field), they’ll agree that “They just don’t make ’em like Casey Stengel anymore.” Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Mar.) [/em]
Reviewed on: 12/14/2015