The funniest man in baseball The true story of Max Patkin

Audrey Vernick

Book - 2018

"A biography for children about Max Patkin, a professional baseball player turned baseball clown"--

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room j796.357092/Patkin Due Jun 9, 2024
Picture books
Boston : Clarion Books 2018.
Main Author
Audrey Vernick (author)
Other Authors
Jennifer Bower, 1969- (illustrator)
Physical Description
1 volume : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Max Patkin chased his dream of becoming a major-league pitcher, playing baseball in high school, in the navy, and in the minor leagues. When an injury ended his major-league pitching hopes, he found another way to make his mark on the field: as a baseball clown in an oversize uniform and a cockeyed cap. For almost five decades, he would perform goofy dance moves, mimic players and coaches, spew geysers of soda, engage in comic arguments with the umps, and occasionally lose his baggy pants. After more than 4,000 appearances, he retired. An author's note, illustrated with photos, provides additional information. Fans of the movie Bull Durham will remember Patkin playing himself as The Clown Prince of Baseball, while kids can glimpse his antics in online videos. Vernick's concise, informative book tells Patkin's story with wit while communicating his love of the game, the spirit of his act, and his pleasure in performing. In her picture-book debut, Bower offers colorful artwork capturing Patkin's style, energy, and zany physical comedy. An unusual sports biography.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Growing up, Max Patkin had big baseball dreams, but was also "a funny guy, a goofy guy, always looking for a laugh." In this picture book biography, Vernick (Brothers at Bat) details Patkin's brief career as a ballplayer, first in the minor leagues and then with a team of enlisted players during WWII. During one game, he pitches against, then pokes fun at Joe DiMaggio, earning a reputation as a jokester in the process. A shoulder injury forces Patkin to retire from the game, but his talents as an entertainer land him an official role as a "baseball clown" and performer in the big leagues. Vernick writes in energetic prose that is well matched to debut illustrator Bower's cartoons, which depict Patkin's exaggerated movements and clownlike expressions on and off the field. Readers learn little about Patkin's personal life, though a quote from Patkin provides insight into how he felt about the unconventional role he filled: "In my heart I would have rather been a big-league baseball player. But then I'd have never made so many people happy." An author's note includes photographs and additional insight into Patkin's life and outsize personality. Ages 6-9. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Vernick (The Kid From Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton) has hit another home run with this enjoyable account of baseball clown Max Patkin. As a young boy, Patkin longed to be a major league player. An injury ended his playing career but he pitched for a navy team during World War II. After giving up a home run to Joe DiMaggio, Patkin followed DiMaggio around the bases mimicking him and making faces. A career was born, and Patkin spent the next 50 years entertaining crowds at minor league games. Vernick's delightful prose combines with Bower's cartoon illustrations to ensure an engaging read-the opening sentence alone will hook kids ("Did you hear the one about the pitcher who walked into a ballpark?"). Photographs and references are included in the back. VERDICT A welcome addition to public and school libraries alike.-Margaret Nunes, Gwinnett County Public Library, GA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

Max Patkin's Major League dreams "took a funny turn." Before there were mascots in baseball stadiums, there was this clownish failed pitcher whose rubber face and talent as a mimic kept fans in stitches. The drawn-out text is unlikely to get today's young readers interested in the famous baseball clown's old-fashioned antics, though they're humorously enlivened in the caricaturish art. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Max Patkin had a very long and rewarding career in baseball, but it wasn't in the way he originally planned.He was a good-enough pitcher to earn a place in the minor leagues. In 1942 he was sidelined by an injury and joined the Navy. After surgery he was good to go: to Hawaii to play baseball with other professional players as a way of entertaining the troops. He played with and against the likes of Pee Wee Reese and Joe DiMaggio. When DiMaggio hit a very long home run against him, Max followed him around the bases, mimicking his motions and garnering laughs and cheers from players and spectators. After the war he played in the minors again, but injuries ended his playing days. But his comic routines were remembered, and he was asked to perform at exhibition games all over the country. Everyone seemed to love his over-the-top slapstick and hilarious performances. Vernick displays warm affection for Patkin, describing his antics in amusing anecdotes that are followed by quoting his signature line, "True Story!" Bower's colorful cartoons manage to capture the essence of Max's goofy appearance and all-out efforts to elicit every bit of fun he could invent in the game he loved so much. It was a different time.A loving homage to the last baseball clown. (author's note, sources) (Picture book/ biography. 8-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.