Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings

Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings

Spring 2003 Picture Books
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator: Terry Widener
This is an unpretentious, thoroughly engrossing baseball tale, guaranteed to please reader/listeners up to the age of ten. When she was two, our real life heroine Alta Weiss discovers that “I must have been born to play baseball” when she hurls a corncob at an old tomcat harassing her favorite hen and bops him directly on the head.

By six, Alta had developed a mean pitching arm and bested all the boys in her hometown at the game. When a dubious coach in a neighboring town allows her one inning on the mound, it is all she needs to earn a permanent place on the Vermillion Independents, a semi-professional team. Author Hopkinson is to be commended for not allowing an iota of imposed feminism to color Alta’s wondrous career. Talent and hard work got her to the top. As for Terry Widener’s pictures, they are a brilliant addition to the story. Widener certainly knows the tensions on pitchers, batters, and fans as a close game progresses. The setting and the entire ambience are 100% authentic. Just looking at the photograph of Alta Weiss on the book’s back cover reveals Widener’s admirable ability to capture the essence of a given scene. In sum, the book will induce many a reader to urge a parent “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” It’s a first-rate book.

Selma G. Lanes   ©2003 Parents' Choice

Look for this product at:
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/Anne Schwartz Books/Atheneum

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