Friday, April 26, 2013

Miracle Mud

Miracle Mud:
Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud that Changed Baseball
by David A. Kelly
illustrated by Oliver Dominguez

Lerner Pub Group. April 2013. 
unpaged. picture book biography

Lena Blackburne wanted to be a famous ballplayer. He tried playing every position for many different teams, but he just wasn't good enough. Although Lena Blackburne was not a star baseball player, he loved everything about the game. After he retired he stayed close to the game and found somewhere he could help out. Before a game, the baseballs would be prepped so they weren't as slick and shiny. However, the methods being used caused the balls to be soft, soggy, sticky or stinky. Nobody liked this and it was difficult to throw the ball and to hit it. Lena set his mind to coming up with a solution and eventually stumbled upon it by accident. He found a muddy area near his home in New Jersey with the perfect slop to take care of the balls. 75 years later, the same muddy place is being harvested to keep major league baseballs in tip-top shape. Lena Blackburne may not have been Hall of Fame material, but his mud sure is!
Miracle Mud is beautifully illustrated and the text is written in a fun but informative manner. Long-time baseball fans and random readers alike will enjoy this story of a lesser known aspect of baseball life.

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