A bully’s threats complicate a young baseball lover’s chance to try her hand at announcing.
Baseball may be the milieu—and the author, as part of a network announcing team for the San Francisco Giants, has plenty of specifics to impart about how the game is played and scored—but the real topic here is what girls (or women) who want to be involved in a field usually reserved for boys (or men) will have to endure or overcome. Eleven-year-old Marty is delighted to be asked at the last moment to announce her little brother Mikey’s Little League games, doing a fine job too. But then Sammy “the Smash” Simpson, slugger on a rival team, leaves her in tears (“Girls suck, and you stink as an announcer. Everyone was laughing at how bad you were. Stick to softball”) and doubting herself. Worse, the bully goes on to threaten Mikey with a beating if she doesn’t quit, and even Mikey suggests that her displays of baseball smarts are embarrassing. Marty is made of sterner stuff, though, and after pep talks from teammates and parents, she regains her self-confidence. It’s a purposive tale, only somewhat mitigated by late-inning nuance added to Sammy’s character. In Killoran’s realistic illustrations, Marty and her family look white, but her best friend and many of the players around her do not.
Light on actual baseball action, but the empowerment message comes through loud and clear. (author interview) (Fiction. 8-10)