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The Girl Who Threw Butterflies Hardcover – February 24, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Young Hoosier Middle Grades Awards 2011-2012
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037585682X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375856822
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,268,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cochrane (Sport) revisits the baseball diamond in this unhurried novel about a girl with a mean knuckleball ("Molly loved watching one of her knuckleballs in flight, but what she felt was not self-admiration at all, just simple curiosity. What was this one going to do?"). Dealing with her father's death in a car accident six months prior and her mother's subsequent zombie-like disinterest in life, Molly hopes that playing on the eighth-grade boys' baseball team will keep her connected to her dad. Molly is bolstered by her free-spirited friend, Celia (who steals every scene she's in), and Lonnie, a kindhearted, artistically inclined catcher. Cochrane offers poignant flashbacks of father-daughter bonding, realistic mother-daughter squabbling and some nail-biting moments on the pitcher's mound, but some readers may find the story's pace sluggish. Still, Cochrane's honest, quiet prose should find fans, as Molly finally pitches a winning game, earns the respect of her teammates and symbolically "lets go" of her need to understand her dad's death. Ages 10-up.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–9—In this sensitive sports novel, a thoughtful eighth grader works through the grief she feels over her father's death. In the months following his car accident, Molly's comfortable life has been turned upside down and her mother has become a stranger. Molly and her father had always been close; as they played catch together, he passed along his love of baseball and much of his philosophy of life as well. A loyal fan of lovable losers like the Chicago Cubs, he taught Molly to throw a knuckleball, a pitch that flutters like a butterfly. He told her: "You don't aim a butterfly. You release it." Molly finds comfort in her memories and decides to try out for the boys' baseball team. She meets some resistance from her teammates, but with the help of a sympathetic coach and friends, she earns a spot on the team. In Molly, Cochrane crafts an awkward yet engaging heroine whose perceptions and interactions with family, friends, and supporting characters ring true. Crisply written sports action balances the internal drama. Suggest this well-written character study to readers who enjoyed Kristi Roberts's My Thirteenth Season (Holt, 2005) and Karen Day's No Cream Puffs (Random, 2008).—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Mick Cochrane was born and raised in St. Paul, MN. He graduated with an English major from the University of St. Thomas and earned a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Minnesota. He is the author of four novels: Flesh Wounds (Nan Talese/Doubleday), which was named a finalist in Barnes and Noble's Discover Great New Writers Competition; Sport, (St. Martin's), selected for the annual New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age List; The Girl Who Threw Butterflies and Fitz (Knopf Books for Young Readers). Currently he is professor of English and Lowery Writer-in-Residence at Canisius College, where he teaches courses in writing and literature, directs the creative writing program, and coordinates the Contemporary Writers Series. He lives in Kenmore, NY, with his wife and two sons.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This book is recommended for baseball fans.
Lori Katz
Baseball, teamwork, friendship, and closure are the prevalent themes in this heartfelt story.
Books4Tomorrow
It could have been longer with a better ending overall it was a good book.
Sophia Bova

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gary Earl Ross on March 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Mick Cochrane's The Girl Who Threw Butterflies is that rare novel, a work for young adults that does not pander to its audience and is therefore a wonderful read for adults. After the death of the father who shared with her a love of baseball, Molly Williams, an eighth-grader with a mean knuckleball, decides to try out for the boys' baseball team. Cochrane handles her loss, uncertainty, and redemptive determination with uncommon sensitivity in this gentle book that gives the reader a solid picture of the joys and pains of early adolescence. Well done.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Kramer Bussel VINE VOICE on April 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'm not a big baseball fan, but I was drawn in to this book and the story of both a girl's decision to go out for the boys baseball team, and the bond between her and her deceased father. What could have been way too much of a "message" book was actually quite touching as Molly makes the decision completely on her own (her mother doesn't find out until much later), though she does get a little Zen coaching from her quirky best friend.

Cochrane includes bits of baseball history and trivia, such as that female baseball player Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth, which will appeal to baseball fans, male and female. Molly's relationship with her mom, like many girls her age, is tumultuous, yet grows so by the end of the book each of them understand each other a little better. Molly's a curious, dedicated young woman, and Cochrane lets her story, and her interest in baseball, unfold gradually. She shows a true love of and interest in the game; there were times when I wondered whether she was simply pursuing it to maintain a connection with her father, but she goes beyond what they had, while still channeling him. A moving, at times bittersweet book that will have you cheering on Molly and her knuckleballs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Books4Tomorrow on March 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
What an incredible read! This really is one of those books I can see myself reading again and again, and which I won't hesitate to recommend as a must-read.

A few of the things I loved so much about Molly is how realistically she's painted and how easy it was to relate to her in some ways. Also, she doesn't come across as a strong character at first because she's shy and withdrawn, but she's intelligent and astonishingly perceptive of her surroundings and the people around her. The reader learns more about Molly's parents, which is a vital part of the storyline, by the way Molly draws the comparisons between her mom and dad's different personalities - done perfectly to "show" the reader how this little family functioned before the death of her father pulled them apart. Sadly, the relationship between Molly and her mother is more than a little strained after Molly's father's death. It was heart-rendering to see Molly trying to reach out to her mother for a little affection, but knowing she might be rebuffed, pulling back into her shell again.

Once Molly's on the baseball field, though, she regains some of her confidence and she shines! The budding friendship on the field between Molly and Lonnie drew me so much deeper into Molly's world. Not only is Lonnie her personal catcher, he's also the type of friend who doesn't mind sticking up for the only girl player on his team. The author didn't sketch him as a typical obnoxious teenage boy, but rather as a quiet, artistic kid dealing with his own set of problems at home. So by the way...I know zilch about baseball, but I gained a lot of knowledge about the game - and some wicked baseball trivia - while reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jill Wharton on April 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a great book for all ages. I love that it had a girl that loved baseball and used that as her way to connect with her father. It was also how she empowered herself and discovered who she wanted to be. It's a combination of a "coming of age" story along with a young girl dealing with the sudden loss of her father. A parent and child reading it together would provide a great opportunity for honest dialogue about life and death and even embracing who you are as an unique individual. I don't want to give away the ending, but it was poignant and meaningful. It hits you right in the heart and was handled beautifully. I had my young teens read it after I finished and they lived it. You don't have to be a fan of baseball to enjoy it as it actually has very little to actually do with it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dwan a minon on January 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Everybody deals with loss,and deals with it differently. This book shows us how one child deals with the loss of a parent.
How she remembers that parent through hardball.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Dunn on July 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A good, well-written book for young adults and old baseball fans. I would say middle school readers would enjoy " The Girl Who Threw Butterflies.
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By LO24 on August 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story overall wasn't horrible, even it was written a bit elementary. As an avid baseball fan I cannot forgive the mistakes when speaking of the game. A few areas offered up incorrect baseball information and it was enough to make me want to stop reading. I finished the book, however, as it was a cute story. I realize that the book itself was not about the game of baseball, but about Molly and her relationship with her mother, her deceased father and with life itself. I understand that, and it made for a cute story. I can't let get of the baseball references that were not correct, however. I think maybe with some proper research those mistakes could have been fixed. All and all a cute, easy read, but I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone. Not a horrible read, but not worth the time it took to read it.
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