All major leaguers dream of winning their league's pennant and, beyond that, the World Series. Jack and Larry is based on the life of Jack Graney and his bull terrier, Larry. It's the heartwarming story of a man, a dog, a team, and the pursuit of the pennant: a pursuit filled with joy and sorrow. Buy now.
Gregorich offers an intermittently heartwarming and heartbreaking account of the career of Graney, an outfielder for Cleveland's American League team (now the Indians). The story, which begins in 1912, is effectively and accessibly told in free verse and co-stars a major player in Graney's life: his beloved bull terrier, Larry, the team mascot. . . . the many uplifting aspects of Graney's story will linger most with readers.
— PW Select
. . . Larry also teaches the Cleveland Naps [now Indians] what it means to be a team, a team that has "togetherness." In a tale of firsts (first team to wear numbers on their uniforms, first batter to swing against Babe Ruth, first team to have a dog as a mascot), Jack and Larry reminds readers "that life is a tornado that swoops us up, slaps us around, and drops us, black and blue but still standing."
Gregorich pulls readers in, those who are fans of the game and those who aren't. The reader is able to form an emotional connection with both Jack and Larry, experiencing the ups and downs of the world of major league baseball as Jack faces disappointment, joy, and heartache. . . . The titles [of the poems] entice reading and set the stage for the content of that particular part, each poem building on the previous one. Jack and Larry is more than a story about baseball and a man and his best friend: it is a life-lesson in pursuing dreams, in never giving up, and in putting it all on the line for the love of the game.
— Melissa Comer, on Tennessee Council of Teachers of English Web Page
This is a must read for dog and baseball lovers everywhere. One Illinois author catapults the concept of man's best friend to a new level: Barbara Gregorich. . . . Jack and Larry is just a gem of a read and shares the story of how one dog became the mascot of the Cleveland Baseball team and the best pal to one of its key players.
— Jodell Sadler, Rockford Examiner
In life, as in baseball, sometimes the ball takes unexpected bounces, and the team must deal with those. . . . Above all . . .. the book and its two heroes remind us of how persistence and determination sometimes trump sheer ability and talent.
— Barbara A. Ward, Reading Today Online
In a series of interconnected poems, Gregorich tells the story of Cleveland American League's left fielder Jack Graney and his bull terrier, Larry. . . . The poems evoke what it was like to be a player and fan in an earlier, grittier baseball era. The selections are rhythmic — "Jack and Larry / Larry and Jack / they are man and dog / dog and man / and they are very much / alike" — and frequently amusing. . . . Those who pick this book up . . . will be rewarded with a quirky, unconventional look at baseball history.
— Todd Morning, Booklist Online
The whole book is written in a very simple, free verse poem form that feels like a baseball historian is having a very relaxing conversation with the reader.
It's a great book for baseball fans, fans of novels written in verse, and history buffs. The best part is that it tells an unknown piece of baseball history in a very unique way. . . . I highly recommend this one.
— McLiterature: 6th Grade Literature with Mr. Curtis
Jack and Larry is engagingly related in this slim book of open, free-verse poetry (with occasional footnotes) and is appropriate for readers of all ages.
—Kelly Ferjutz, Sacramento Book Review
The free-form poetry format . . . matches the rhythm of the baseball season, the game itself, and even dog Larry. It also suggests the momentum of someone intent on moving forward, despite obstacles, with hope and heart.
— Relish Elgin