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Players In Pigtails Hardcover – March 1, 2003
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Katie Casey is in a league of her own: "She preferred sliding to sewing, batting to baking, and home runs to homecoming." Unfortunately, baseball is not considered ladylike in 1942. But when the male professional baseball players are called away to war, Katie has her chance to step up to the plate. Players in Pigtails, inspired by the movie A League of Their Own, is a delightful tribute to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League created by Chicago Cubs owner Phillip Wrigley during World War II. When author Shana Corey (Milly and the Macys Parade, You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!) discovered that the lyrics of the popular 1908 song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" featured a "baseball-mad" girl named Katie Casey, she simply had to share the story with children. Illustrator Rebecca Gibbon captures a gleeful era of womens baseball in cheerful colors and carefully researched 1940s styles. Young readers will enjoy this exuberant, well-paced picture book about good old-fashioned girl power, complete with an informative and engaging authors note about the girls league along with the lyrics to both "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and the official "Victory Song" of the AAGPBL. (Ages 5 and older) --Karin Snelson
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4-Inspired by the movie A League of Their Own about Phillip Wrigley's All-American Girls Professional Baseball League started during World War II, Corey researched and uncovered a little-known verse to the popular song, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The verse begins: "Katie Casey was baseball mad/Had the fever and had it bad." The fictional female becomes the main character in this thoroughly charming picture book about a young woman whose "heart just wasn't in home ec" but who "walked baseball- talked baseball" and "even dreamed baseball." Corey takes readers through Katie's disastrous knitting and dancing, her successful tryout for the Kenosha Comets, the charm school the team members were required to attend, and the excitement of the first game. Through lively prose, she perfectly captures the character and spirit of the events described. Gibbon's watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations are absolutely delightful, depicting both humor and drama. Even libraries owning Doreen Rappaport and Lyndall Callan's Dirt on Their Skirts (Dial, 2000) should make room on their shelves for this tribute to a brief, but fascinating aspect, of America's sports history.
Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
If you've seen A League of Their Own, you probably know that when American men went off in droves to fight WWII, American women stepped up to the plate (literally) to save America's Pastime, baseball. Players in Pigtails tells the story of baseball-crazy Katie Casey, who is one of hundreds of girls who tried out for (and made) the All American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s. The story follows Katie's journey from her frustrations at home, failing at home ec and other "womanly" pursuit, to Chicago to try out for the new league, to the league's efforts to make "players in pigtails" more palatable to the public by making sure the girls of the GPBL were very ladylike.
My sons, ages 2 and 4, both really like this book, so don't make the mistake of thinking it's only for girls! The illustrations are whimsical and endearing, though I do have one pet peeve: in the last scene, Katie hits a grand slam home run -- but in the picture that accompanies the text, there are no base runners on the pitch, only fielders!
We read this with my son when he was quite young. We had to explain some of the basics of historical context to him as we went along, but he got it pretty quickly and loved seeing the young women succeed. As a feminist mama, I loved the book's explanation that the main character, Katie Casey, wasn't "...good at being a girl... at least not the kind of girl everyone thought she should be." However, I was disappointed that Gibbon's otherwise charming, retro art portrayed all the "girls" playing for the league with the same body type: thin. All female athletes aren't the same build. And as Kirkus Reviews noted, the book gives a misleading portrayal that women of color were included in the League.
I still think it's a good book, but those couple of flaws are worth a good conversation.
Most recent customer reviews
I also donated this to my own children's school library.Read more
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