Yogi: The Life, Loves, and Language of Baseball Legend Yogi Berra

by Barb Rosenstock (Author) Terry Widener (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Perfect to celebrate baseball season, here is the life and famous words, such as "it ain't over till it's over," of Major League Baseball player and New York Yankee Lawrence "Yogi" Berra.

Yogi Berra loved his family, his neighborhood, his friends, and, most of all, baseball. He was crazy for it, ever since he was a young kid playing with friends in an abandoned dump. But baseball didn't love him back--at least not at first. Yogi was different. He didn't have the right look. When he finally made it to the major leagues, Yogi faced pranks and harassment from players, sportswriters, and fans. Their words hurt, but they made Yogi determined to show all that he could do. Author Barb Rosenstock's dynamic text and illustrator Terry Widener's powerful artwork reveal the talents, loves, and inspirational words of this celebrated New York Yankee and American icon, who earned a World Series ring for each finger and made baseball love him back.


(A) loving tribute to New York Yankee baseball legend Yogi Berra. Back matter documents his amazing career... and complement the storylike text that introduces a simple Italian kid from Saint Louis who loved his family, loved his friends, and really, really loved baseball. The illustrations capture the wistful, nostalgic mood... readers will come away with an appreciation for both the amazing athlete and the humble, unique individual. Source notes, a bibliography, and additional background information elevate this offering into viable research material, making this an entertaining and worthy addition to sports biography collections.

Hornbook Guide to Children

(T)his picture-book biography...does an excellent job covering Berra as both baseball player and cultural icon. Widener's illustrations...ably capture Berra's short stature and big personality. Thorough back matter concludes the book, including a double-page spread of Berra's 'amazing' stats, a bibliography, an author's note, several photographs, and source notes.

School Library Journal

Gr 2-5--Yogi Berra was a lot of things: a kid from an Italian neighborhood in St. Louis, a World War II vet, an amazing catcher for the New York Yankees, and a man who had a memorable way with words. Rosenstock and Widener use his "Yogi-isms" to highlight a number of difficulties he experienced in his life; in his early struggles as a catcher, Yogi could've said "It's not too far, it just seems like it is." Widener's acrylic illustrations steal the show. He cleverly outlines Yogi in white so that he always stands out to readers and he uses color to signal emotions--red for anger and cool blue for sadness. Rosenstock provides a great amount of back matter, including career stats for catching and hitting, career accomplishments, and a bibliography. The author also includes "A Note About Yogi-isms" to give some insight into how she chose which quotes to include in the book and how readers can find out if Yogi actually said them. In his own words: "I really didn't say everything I said." VERDICT A solid purchase where the Yankees and baseball history are popular, secondary purchase elsewhere.--Kerri Williams, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.


A loving homage to a charismatic baseball hero.

Review quotes


Barb Rosenstock
BARB ROSENSTOCK is the author of the Caldecott Honor Book The Noisy Paint Box; Vincent Can't Sleep; Through the Window; and Mornings with Monet, all also illustrated by Mary GrandPré, as well as many other books. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband, sons, and two big poodles. Visit her at BarbRosenstock.com.

ERIKA MEZA is the illustrator of Salsa Lullaby by Jen Arena. She was born in Morelia, in the Mexican state where monarch butterflies go for the winter. She grew up in awe of the phenomenon, and carried the image of the butterfly as a piece of home when she moved to Paris to follow her dream of becoming an author and illustrator. Her themes are born out of the exploration of her migrant essence, her bittersweet relationship with change, and her attachment to innocence and curiosity. She now lives in London. Learn more about Erika at ErikaMeza.com or on Twitter at @ErikaDraws.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Calkins Creek Books
Publication date
February 20, 2019

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