From School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Gwen can't be more excited as a summer of softball stretches ahead of her. She and her best friend/cousin, Jess, play for the Press Gazette, the city's newspaper, which employs both of their fathers. The girls have been "practicing forever," and building a championship team this season is well within their sights. What isn't anticipated is the strike that divides their families: Gwen's dad is "labor" and his brother is "management." At first, Gwen enjoys having her father home, available to shuttle her to practice and the movies, and she even accompanies him on the high-spirited picket line. He assures her that the dispute won't last long: "By tomorrow they'll be on their knees, begging us to come back." The mood darkens and tension builds, however, as the strike continues, ultimately disrupting relationships and, of course, the softball season. Characterization is strong, revealed through Gwen's first-person narrative and solid dialogue. In a believable plot, the young people finally are able to begin the healing process in the community-with a little help from their irascible grandmother. Koss has created realistic characters that young people will both recognize and relate to. They will also recognize the influence that the larger adult world has, and understand that they are not powerless.
Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-6. Gwen and Jess are cousins, best friends, and enthusiastic ballplayers. Their fathers, who are twins, work for the local newspaper, the company that sponsors the girls' baseball team. When the newspaper's labor force goes on strike, kinship, friendship, and team spirit all take a beating. Told in Gwen's straightforward preadolescent voice, the story unfolds across the tense weeks of the strike, as the baseball team becomes a battleground for the adults. Jess and Gwen distrust each other, and Gwen learns how difficult it can be to form friendships when they don't come readymade from family ties. But Gwen is certain of one thing: she won't let the strike ruin a good baseball summer, and organizes a coed game that crosses management and family lines. The denouement is perhaps a bit pat, but Gwen is a wonderfully spunky kid who has real problems, creative solutions, and the guts to admit that she has a lot to learn about others' needs. Francisca GoldsmithCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved