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Reviewed by:
  • Mickey Mantle: The Commerce Comet by Jonah Winter
  • Elizabeth Bush
Winter, Jonah Mickey Mantle: The Commerce Comet; illus. by C. F. Payne. Schwartz & Wade, 2017 [34p]
Library ed. ISBN 978-1-101-93353-4 $20.99
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-101-93352-7 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 3-5

Here, kids, is the guy your grandparents talk about from back in the day: the Yankee switch hitter who demolished records; the slugger who inspired the term “tape measure home run”; the Mick. In Winter’s latest entry in his string of picture-book baseball bios, however, Mantle’s also the guy who was pushed into baseball by his demanding father, and who realized his talent was diminished following an on-field injury: “Turns out Mickey’s right knee has basically become detached from his ligaments. . . . After this, he would never be as fast, and he would always be in pain.” If kids read the author’s note facing the title page, they’ll learn the tragedy behind the legend, that Mantle was sexually abused as a child, struggled with alcoholism as an adult, and was a professional disappointment to Yankee manager Casey Stengel. Given this complicated history, there is a tone of something close to melancholy that darkens this title and sets it apart from Winter’s works on Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, etc. Even Payne’s signature monumental caricatures, which often evoke grins and chuckles, do not mask the pain, nor should they. Mantle’s story is about a different kind of strength than power hitting: “To watch a guy do what he did, with that body, could take your breath away.”



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p. 288
Launched on MUSE
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