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Joy in Mudville Library Binding – April 1, 2014
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—The day after Mighty Casey's infamous strikeout, the Mudville Nine has fallen to second place and in the late innings of the game struggles to hold onto its lead. Rookie Joy Armstrong is brought in to save the game as the startled fans boo. Lanky, pink bubble-blowing Joy is unfazed by the fans' reaction: "She'd show them soon enough that girls/excel in many sports." Joy faces Jackson, a lumbering giant, and surprises him with a football snap thrown between her legs and a high tennis lob. With Jackson behind in the count, Joy's last pitch is a basketball jump shot that the batter bunts, but she uses her soccer skills to make the play at the plate. Sometimes the rhymes sound forced and awkward, but the appealing broad humor wins out. Cartoon illustrations complement and add to the silly goings-on. For example, the umpire's attire changes to a football referee, a tennis line judge, and as he calls the runner out at home, he's wearing soccer shorts and waving a red card. There's a not-so-subtle message here, but it's delivered with pitch-perfect tone. This playful retelling wins a place for itself alongside the many iterations of Casey's tale.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
We all know how “Casey at the Bat” ended: there was “no joy in Mudville.” Raczka picks up the story here, with “Joy” referring to an actual person: lanky relief pitcher Joy Armstrong. One game after the mighty Casey struck out, the fortunes of the team rest upon the shoulders of young Joy. Not only does she save the day for her team, she does so unconventionally, pitching balls in ways more akin to the signature moves of other sports: hiking it, serving it, lobbing it, and so on. The point—that she is an all-around athlete—is stretched a bit far, but this does make for a good addition to the slim number of picture books about girls who excel at sports. Dibley’s illustrations feature lumpy-faced characters with similar laconic expressions, but readers will pick up on the way the umpire’s clothes change with Joy’s choice of plays. For collections that can always use another good-natured sports book. Grades K-2. --Karen Cruze
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Author: Bob Raczka
Illustrator: Glin Dibley
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Genre: Children's Fiction
Overall Rating: Excellent
Reviewed For: NetGalley
Mudville is truly in the dumps. The Mighty Casey struck out in last nights game and now he lives in the nightmare aftermath where newspaper headlines shout his shame. Tonight is his chance to redeem himself and he does to a point, but it is the bottom of the ninth is defending the field with only a one run lead. When the best pitcher's arm gives out the coach looks at his choices for replacements. Taking a chance he calls out Joy take the field. Silence descends over the fans as they stare in despair. They are going to loose again. The coach has gone crazy to send out Joy. Because he's not a he, but a she. Among boos and shouts to leave Joy takes up the place on the mound.
A wonderful story to teach young children about sports the place of girls in them. If you have ever heard the saying never judge a book book's by its cover, then this is the book to help children understand the meaning behind the saying. Joy is slight, but plucky with loads of courage. Read as she teaches the crowds that being a girl does not mean weak and incapable. Beautiful drawings by Glin Dibley illustrate Bob Raczka's story perfectly. As an extra bonus is the poem Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. Pick up a copy for your sports enthusiast whether boy or girl and share the fun today.