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Pinballs Paperback – September, 1979

4.4 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"One summer two boys and a girl went to a foster home to live together"--the Newbery Medal-winning author chronicles their trials and tribulations in witty and poignant fashion. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"A hopeful, loving, and very witty book. No wonder 58,000 school children in Georgia voted it their favorite." -- --Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (September 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590337858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590337854
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,454,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Anna M. Ligtenberg VINE VOICE on June 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
ISBN 0064401987 - An ALA Notable Children's book, The Pinballs is one of those books that took me a little while to like. Once I gave it a chance, it turned out to be a very good read.

Carlie, Harvey and Thomas J. come into the foster care system and meet in the living room of the Masons. Mrs Mason can't have children, so she and her husband began the process to adopt. Along the way, they ended up as foster parents and they've gotten quite good at it. Harvey's there because his father got drunk and ran over his legs with the car - and that was after his mother ran away from them. Carlie's had a hard time with stepfathers and is in the system until things stabilize. Thomas J. is a mystery - a child who toddled up to a farmhouse owned by twin sisters, who took him and raised him until they both ended up in the hospital. Then the authorities found him and while they figured out what to do with him, he was at the Masons.

Carlie comes across, at first, like a girl you'd like to NOT know; Thomas J. is the loudest quiet kid in the world; Harvey just seems to be broken, in more ways than one. How they help each other and how they learn to let others help them is a touching story that every kid - and every adult! - ought to read. And who they really are, under all the hurts of their short, messed up lives, might surprise you.

- AnnaLovesBooks
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By A Customer on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
One summer, Carlie, Harvey and Thomas J are forced to live together in a foster home. Harvey's father ran over his legs, the Benson twins couldn't care for Thomas J anymore, and Carlie had been abused by her stepfather. At first, they don't get along. Will they ever become friends? Will they ever be a "Brady Bunch"-type family? Besty Byars has written an intersting story about life in a foster family. The Pinballs is realistic,with believable, fast-paced, witty conversation. The sassy way Carlie talks is humorous at times, but the theme story is a serious one. The Pinballs contains some difficult vocabulary for a middle school readers, but it's easy to understand and to identify with the characters' feelings
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A Kid's Review on November 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Pinballs is a book about three children who are sent to a foster home. The three children are Carlie, Harvey, and Thomas J. Carlie is a fourteen-year-old girl who is at the foster home because her stepfathers abused her. Harvey is a thirteen-year-old boy who is at a foster home because his father had drinking problem and he couldn't take care of Harvey. Thomas J. is an eight year old boy who is at the foster home because when he was two his natal parents left him at the door step of the eighty-two year old Benson twins and they broke their hips walking down a path to their house and they couldn't care for him. So those three children were sent the Mason Foster Home. At first Carlie doesn't like anybody in the house, Harvey really doesn't communicate and Thomas J. talks too loud. What will happen to Carlie? What will happen to Harvey? What will happen to Thomas J.? Find out in The Pinballs by Betsy Byars.
I think the Pinballs was very good because most of the characters were dynamic. Betsy Byars painted a vivid picture of the characters. There is a very big lesson that taught in this book and you will have to read this book to find out. I would suggest this to any person above the age of ten.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pinballs is about three children (~pre/early teen) who find themselves placed in the same foster home, each coming from their own less-than-perfect situations. The book is an easy read; regardless of the Lexile level I would recommend it for 4th-5th graders. The only proviso is that many of the references (e.g., to television shows) are very dated and can lose a modern student reader quite quickly--the time frame includes references to the Sonny and Cher Show, etc.. I tried this as a read-aloud to my 5th grade class and was disappointed; it remains a nice small group book if you are facilitating it in the guise of a literature circle, book club, etc.
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Format: Paperback
We just finished reading The Pinballs in our fourth-grade classroom. Most of us thought it was a great book. We felt that we learned a lot about what it's like for someone to have to leave his or her family and go to a foster home for a while. We were interested in how Carlie changes. At the beginning she is sharp-tongued with everyone and she's angry all the time. Later on, she begins to trust and really care about the other foster kids and Mr. and Mrs. Mason, the foster parents. Carlie is not the only one who changes. We saw that Harvey reaches a deeper understanding of his father. Instead of just hating him for running over his legs with his car, he becomes more understanding after realizing that his mother never answered any of his letters (his mother ran away to join a commune). We liked what Carlie and Thomas J did at the end of the book to bring Harvey out of his depression in the hospital. We're not going to say what that is, though, because we want everyone who reads this review to read the book.
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By A Customer on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Pinballs is a powerful look at how living in a foster home may change your life. The setting takes place in the Mason's foster home during the summer. The characters are believible. They are Carlie, Harvey, and Thomas J. All three characters want to go gome, however their parents are in a conflict. The author of this novel is Betsy Byars. She writes in a lively way. The aurthor has great descriptive images and is a great writer of non-fiction stories.
Carlie is 13 years old, Harvy 11 years old, and Thomas J. is 8 years old. They all have certain problems. One of those three problems is that Harvey's dad abused him. He was an alcholholic and Harvey is now paralized. Thomas J., never got to know his biologicial parents. Thomas J's mother left him at he door step of the Benson's twins. Carlies's stepfather also abused her. He hit her, punched her, and did everything to hurt her.
How can these three children go beyond their problems? Read this novel The Pinballs.
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