Friday, February 1, 2019

Waiting for Pumpsie

This book, published a couple years ago, is as timeless as ever. And now, author Barry Wittenstein has created curriculum materials to go along with it. So I can't think of a better way to kick of Black History month than with a story about baseball - plus spring training has already started, so .... batter up!

Waiting for Pumpsie
by Barry Wittenstein; London Ladd
32 pages; ages 5-8
Charlesbridge, 2017

themes: equality, biography

I'm Bernard, and I'm crazy, crazy, crazy about the Red Sox. Everybody in Boston is. It's just something you get born into.

Set in 1959, more than a decade after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, the Sox still field an all white team. The Giants have Willie Mays, Bernard points out to his parents, so how come Red Sox don't have a black player?

Like any other fan, Bernard wants the Sox to win. They're having a dismal season (no news to regular fans....) and fans want to know why the team won't bring up Pumpsie Green from the minors.

If you're a SOX fan, you already know the ending to this story. He plays. They lose - that game.

What I like about this book:
There is great writing to be found within these pages. Like when Pumpsie smacks the ball and "rounds first base and runs like his own uniform can't keep up." It probably doesn't hurt that Barry Wittenstein grew up a fan of the game and wrote for Major League Baseball. There are plenty of verbs in this book. I like the wonderful. illustrations by London Ladd. And I really like that there's back matter. Wittenstein points out that by the time Pumpsie was called up from the minors, Jackie Robinson had already been retired for two years!

But this story is about more than baseball, he says. "It's about moving toward equality and how sports can help change society for the better."

Beyond the book:

Learn more about Pumpsie Green. Look for information in books, and online. One place to find info is the Society for American Baseball Research.

Create a Baseball Card. You can make one for Pumpsie - or your favorite player. Of course, you'll need some stats: information about the team they play for, the positions they play, and their batting record.

You can find more activities about Pumpsie at Barry Wittenstein's website. Look under "downloads"  for the curriculum guide.

And head over to Archimedes Notebook today to check out another book by the same author - about accidental inventions! We're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday. It's a weekly event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by Blue Slip Media.


  1. I love Charlesbridge books, and I must have missed this one. Thanks for featuring!

  2. This is another great book I haven't seen yet. Got it on hold. Thanks for the heads up! :-)

  3. I really love a book like this one. I like the theme of equality in sports. Good to share before the season begins.