Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Shot Heard 'round the World

The Shot Heard 'round the World by Phil Bildner, illustrated by C.F. Payne, 2005

The 1951 baseball season came down to the Yankees, the Giants and the Dodgers. Would the Giants or the Dodgers win the pennant and a trip to the World Series?
Brooklyn loved their Bums.

Just three more outs were needed to clinch the pennant for the Dodgers. Bildner builds the tension as an entire community held its breath. Coney Island was deserted, rabbis recited special prayers and radios were tuned to WMCA.
We squeezed our spaldeens and twirled our skate keys as our ace Mighty Monte Irwin dug down deep.

As Bobby Thomson swings away, C.F. Payne paints the wide eyed expression of the catcher and umpire as their eyes track the ball. Bildner reminds us that sports fandom is a risky business. Love is always a gamble but the life lessons are worthwhile.

Payne captures the rythm and movement of the game on every page. He evokes the times with period items that are just right, like the small cardboard seal with the pull up tab on a milk bottle and the rocking lawn chairs on front porches. Ebbots Field is beautifully rendered, down to the lettering on the scoreboard. Photographs from behind the plate of Thompson's homerun are a nice addition. Bildner and Payne work well together as they demonstrated in the winning Bluebonnet winner, Shoeless Joe and Black Betsy

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