Jack and Larry: Jack Graney and Larry, the Cleveland Baseball Dog
Barbara Gregorich. CreateSpace (www.createspace.com), $12 paper (102p) ISBN 978-1-4679-5801-1
Gregorich (She's on First) offers an intermittently heartwarming and heartbreaking account of the career of Graney, an outfielder for Cleveland's American League team (now the Indians). The story, which begins in 1912, is effectively and accessibly told in free verse and co-stars a major player in Graney's life: his beloved bull terrier, Larry, the team mascot. Kids will be entertained by Larry's antics: he thrills Cleveland fans by leapfrogging over players' backs and howling when an opposing batter is in a tight spot; he is also the first major league mascot to be introduced to a U.S. president. Baseball devotees of all ages will appreciate the "firsts" associated with Graney, which include his being the first batter to face Babe Ruth, the first player to wear a number on his uniform, and the first former major leaguer to become a sports announcer. Sobering intervals include the death of Graney's teammate and best friend, Ray Chapman, after being hit in the head by a pitch thrown by Carl Mays, and Larry's demise. But the many uplifting aspects of Graney's story will linger most with readers. Ages 10%E2%80%93up.
Reviewed on: 04/09/2012