Perfect Picture Book Friday – Waiting For Pumpsie

Hey Everyone!

After our weeks off for the Valentiny Contest, it’s finally Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And as I believe I mentioned on Wednesday… and am likely to keep mentioning 🙂 … spring is right around the corner.  (I am choosing to ignore the fact that the weather people in this neck of the woods are predicting a decidedly un-spring-like 8 degrees tonight!)  With spring comes baseball, so what better time for a book about baseball – with some history and civil rights to make it even better?!

I hope you’ll enjoy today’s Perfect Picture Book which comes to us from a talented debut author with more titles coming soon!


Title: Waiting For Pumpsie

Written By: Barry Wittenstein

Illustrated By: London Ladd

Charlesbridge, February 2017,  historical fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: civil rights/race relations, sports (baseball)

Opening: “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.  We’re lucky, I guess.
We always want the Sox to win.  But Mama says we gotta root for all the colored players, no matter what team they’re on.

Brief Synopsis: From the jacket: “It’s 1959.  Bernard lives in Boston, and he dreams about a day when a baseball player who looks like him will play for his beloved Red Sox.  Bernard’s mother says change is coming soon.  Bernard’s father says she’s always right.  But they are all disappointed when no black player is called up from the minors to start the season.”  Will Bernard ever get to see someone like him play for the Sox?

Links To Resources: back matter in the book includes an author’s note with historical information; list of first black players on every MLB team with photos and bios; history for kids – civil rights movements; with your children or students, discuss a time when they were unfairly excluded from something – how did it make them feel? draw a picture of the situation, write a letter to the person who excluded them, or write a poem about how it felt.


Why I Like This Book: I love books that give young readers a slice of history encapsulated in an engaging story.  One of the best things about this book is Bernard’s voice.  Although he’s a fictional character, he feels real.  He sounds believable.  His enthusiasm for baseball in general and the Red Sox in particular comes through clearly, along with his acute awareness that his team is the only holdout in the major leagues – the only team that has yet to play an African-American.  When at last Pumpsie Green gets his chance, helping the Red Sox to a win, Bernard and his family are there to witness the historic moment.  I think my favorite line in the book is: “The Sox win.  After the game, I stop walking for a minute and turn around.  I look at Fenway and the crowd and tell my eyes to take a picture.”  Isn’t that just wonderful?  Haven’t we all had moments like that when we try to commit every single detail to memory so we’ll never forget?  A wonderful choice for baseball fans, young historians, or anyone who likes a good story!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂


10 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – Waiting For Pumpsie

  1. Joanna says:

    It hid 70 here a couple of days ago!

    I have a 12th grader doing a thesis for whom this book would be useful, hah! I guess his teachers’ might not appreciate a picture book in the bibliography though!

  2. ptnozell says:

    Great choice for a spring book today, Susanna – Spring will arrive soon; a few daffodils are out near NYC – we’ll be sipping lemonade and wishing for cooler temp’s before we know it!

  3. Wendy says:

    This looks like a great book for kids–and thinking about it may have helped me with a writing problem! Have a great weekend.

  4. viviankirkfield says:

    Loving your Perfect Picture Book Friday choice, Susanna…and wishing I could join in on the fun…but I’m wading through a wonderful array of #50PreciousWords. 🙂 I’m blown away with the response! Over 500 comments and over 120 entries already and we are only 30 hours into the challenge. What fun!
    And thank you so much, Susanna, for your generous prize donation…I know many are participating in hopes of winning the seat in Making Picture Book Magic. 😉

  5. jeanjames926 says:

    Susanna I just got around to reading your PBF choice, and wow, this looks like a great book. Unfortunately we are die hard Yankee fans here, but this book looks so good I think we can sneak it in the house.

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