PLAYERS IN PIGTAILS

This upbeat but uneven book draws from the history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and the famous song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Carey (Milly and the Macy’s Parade, 2002, etc.) takes Katie Casey, who in the famous song “was baseball mad,” and imagines that she was recruited for the women’s league, founded in 1943 when many professional male players joined the military. A scout recruits Katie, who is inept at stereotypical female pastimes like cooking but great at baseball, for the Kenosha Comets. On opening day, she hits a grand-slam to win the game. The inclusion of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” a song about a girl on a date rooting for “the boys,” and the title word “pigtails,” a term more associated with young children than professional athletes, both seem at odds with the book’s role described in the author’s note as a “tribute” to the “women” of the AAGPBL. But even more jarring is the style of illustration, which portrays all the players as slim and perky, unlike many of the real, often muscular, players. Accuracy is further undermined by the picture of a dark-skinned player being scouted, giving the impression that the AAGPBL had African-American players, which it did not. A more accurate and engaging picture book on the same subject is Dirt on Their Skirts: The Story of the Young Women Who Won the World Championship (2000), by Doreen Rappaport and Lyndall Callan, with illustrations by E.B. Lewis, that shows sturdy players and include photographs of them on the endpapers. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-439-18305-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2003

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An early reader that kids will want to befriend.

NOT ME!

In an odd-couple pairing of Bear and Chipmunk, only one friend is truly happy to spend the day at the beach.

“Not me!” is poor Chipmunk’s lament each time Bear expresses the pleasure he takes in sunning, swimming, and other activities at the beach. While controlled, repetitive text makes the story accessible to new readers, slapstick humor characterizes the busy watercolor-and-ink illustrations and adds interest. Poor Chipmunk is pinched by a crab, buried in sand, and swept upside down into the water, to name just a few mishaps. Although other animal beachgoers seem to notice Chipmunk’s distress, Bear cheerily goes about his day and seems blithely ignorant of his friend’s misfortunes. The playful tone of the illustrations helps soften the dynamic so that it doesn’t seem as though Chipmunk is in grave danger or that Bear is cruel. As they leave at the end of the book Bear finally asks, “Why did you come?” and Chipmunk’s sweet response caps off the day with a warm sunset in the background.

An early reader that kids will want to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3546-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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Celebrated collaborators deliver another thoughtful delight, revealing how “making marks” links us across time and space.

CAVE PAINTINGS

A trip to grandmother’s launches light-years beyond the routine sort, as a human child travels from deep space to Earth.

The light-skinned, redheaded narrator journeys alone as flight attendants supply snacks to diverse, interspecies passengers. The kid muses, “Sometimes they ask me, ‘Why are you always going to the farthest planet?’ ”The response comes after the traveler hurtles through the solar system, lands, and levitates up to the platform where a welcoming grandmother waits: “Because it’s worth it / to cross one universe / to explore another.” Indeed, child and grandmother enter an egg-shaped, clear-domed orb and fly over a teeming savanna and a towering waterfall before disembarking, donning headlamps, and entering a cave. Inside, the pair marvel at a human handprint and ancient paintings of animals including horses, bison, and horned rhinoceroses. Yockteng’s skilled, vigorously shaded pictures suggest references to images found in Lascaux and Chauvet Cave in France. As the holiday winds down, grandmother gives the protagonist some colored pencils that had belonged to grandfather generations back. (She appears to chuckle over a nude portrait of her younger self.) The pencils “were good for making marks on paper. She gave me that too.” The child draws during the return trip, documenting the visit and sights along the journey home. “Because what I could see was infinity.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 85% of actual size.)

Celebrated collaborators deliver another thoughtful delight, revealing how “making marks” links us across time and space. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77306-172-6

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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