Great Illustrated Books

Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen

By Marissa Moss, Illustrated by C. F. Payne

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2004
Pages : 32
Suggested Ages: 7-10
ISBN: 9780689863295

On April 2, 1931, at an exhibition game between the New York Yankees and the Chattanooga Lookouts, something unheard of happened. Jackie Mitchell, the pitcher for the Tennessee team, took on the giants of the Yankees, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. First, Babe Ruth came up to the plate. She struck him out. She? That's right. Mind you, the Babe thought women were "too delicate" to play baseball. That day, Jackie Mitchell proved him wrong. Next up was the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig. She struck him out, too. Baseball was, and still is, considered a man's game, but, as this inspiring picture book makes clear, girls can play, too, as Jackie so skillfully demonstrated.

What was upshot of her feat? The Author's Note explains how, after the game, Jackie's contract with the team was voided, on the grounds that baseball was "too strenuous" for a woman. This episode should lead to a lively debate: should women be allowed to play pro baseball? Meet other women who played the sport in Shana Corey's Players in Pigtails, about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that formed in 1943 during World War II, and Deborah Hopkinson's Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings, about Alta Weiss, who in 1907 pitched for a semi-pro all-male baseball team in Ohio. Jean L. S. Patrick's The Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth is another account of Jackie Mitchell's amazing game. Then go outside and play some ball. Boys and girls, of course.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Adler, David A. America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle. Harcourt, 2000.

Adler, David A. Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man. Harcourt, 1997.

Adler, David A. A Picture Book of Amelia Earhart. Holiday House, 1998.

Burleigh, Robert. Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth. Harcourt, 1998.

Corey, Shana. Players in Pigtails. Scholastic, 2003.

Corey, Shana. You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! Scholastic, 2000.

Hall, Donald. When Willard Met Babe Ruth. Harcourt, 1996.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings. Atheneum, 2003.

Krull, Kathleen. Lives of Extraordinary Women. Harcourt, 2000.

Morrison, Lillian, comp. At the Crack of the Bat: Baseball Poems. Hyperion, 1992.

Moss, Marissa. Brave Harriet. Harcourt, 2001.

Norworth, Jack. Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Four Winds, 1993.

Patrick, Jean L. S. The Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth. Carolrhoda, 2000.

Waber, Bernard. Gina. Houghton Mifflin, 1995.

Critics have said

The narrative captures the tension and excitement, and has the air of an experience remembered. Payne's mixed-media illustrations with their judicious use of sepia increase the nostalgic feel.
School Library Journal
This is a powerful read-aloud.