Sandy Koufax

April 6, 2011

Baseball is a favorite in my family.  I love finding historical narratives on the subject.  You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter: Book CoverThe cover of this book is one-of-a-kind as the pitcher actually moves.  The title spoke to me, You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! Well, sorry to say, no I have not.  I have heard about several baseball players, as both my husband and oldest son are walking baseball almanacs.  So when I mentioned Sandy’s name, they both said, “Yeah. He was one of the best left-handed pitchers.”   As I opened the book and noticed the copyright (2009), a note caught my eye.  I was hooked.

“For the record:  a note from the author regarding Sandy Koufax.  He is still alive and will drop by training camp to give some tips.” Wow! Impressive.

Jonah Winters uses  questions throughout the text keeps the reader interacting.  In some ways, this technique is teaching children the reading strategy of questioning.  As a reader, you stop, reflect, and think about the text.

The language is very rich and the craft moves are endless. I also noticed that Andre’ Carrilho used mainly brown, blue, and gray hues for his illustrations.  From a book I read on boy literacy, boys connect with those colors the most. (That’s another post.)

The scenes of Koufax’s career span over several years, yet the author’s choice highlights key points that make you feel like you are watching a superb documentary.  I’m not bored reading this book.  There is so much information packed into the thirty-two page text.  Brilliant! If you teach biographical writing, this book would be a great mentor text.  I learned that Sandy Koufax was teammates with Jackie Robinson.  He also struck out Babe Ruth and Willie Mays.

Savorings for reading and in writing for You Never heard of Sandy Koufax?!:

  • Grabber lead – talks to the reader – “You gotta be kidding! You never heard of Sandy Koufax?! He was only the greatest lefty who ever pitched in the game of baseball.”
  • Voice – Brooklyn, New York dialect
  • Narrator – speaks as a teammate – “Did you see what I just seen?
  • Repeating phrase – “game after game” is used in sequential sentences to create intensity
  • Leaves me wondering – use of questioning
  • Baseball stats – nonfiction feature – snippets of facts highlighting Koufax’s and baseball greats that appeal to the analytical mind

new PES library book –

Definitely a book I want for my collection!!