Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Apples With Many Seeds.
My selection is "All Star!: Honus Wagner and the most famous baseball card ever" written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jim Burke.
Yolen begins her tribute to this baseball legend, who was one of the first five players inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame, by sharing the story of how his baseball card sold for nearly three million dollars. Wagner was a child from an immigrant family with a sixth-grade education. He worked in a coal mine but went on to become a hero of baseball playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yolen skillfully intersperses anecdotes culled from Wagner's experiences with the personal values that sustained him. Wagner, a nonsmoker, had his baseball card recalled in 1909 when he learned it was being included in cigarette promotions because he didn't want to set a bad example for children. Yolen sets his story against a realistic picture America during Wagner's life (1874-1955).
Burke's illustrations are reminiscent of those early years and are filled with carefully rendered detail that makes each picture worthy of a second look.