Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey, illustrated by Rebecca Gibson

Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey, illustrated by Rebecca Gibson

Rating: 4.5 stars

"Crying?  There's no crying in baseball!" is one of my all-time favorite lines from any movie, delivered by Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own.

But that line is NOT in this book about Katie Casey, a girl who is not very good at being a typical girl and busying herself with piano or painting or home-ec or dancing.  Instead, she was obsessed with baseball.  She could catch a ball with her eyes closed, hit a ball with one hand behind her back.  "She preferred sliding to sewing, batting to baking, and home runs to homecoming."

I love girls like these--in real life and in books!

Because America was at war and the boys were going away to war, girls were suddenly called upon to take up the sport.  As soon as Katie Casey heard about tryouts, she was there.  Happily, she found herself surrounded by other like-minded women who wanted to talk about the quality of their curve balls instead of the hue of their lipstick.  Soon Katie was playing for the Kenosha Comets, in front of a surprisingly enthusiastic crowd.  (But only after attending finishing school and donning skirts...chuckle, chuckle...)

Who knew that the super famous--I even know some of the words--"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was about a girl?!  I love being armed with this knowledge.  The author, Shana Corey, discovered this and couldn't shake the idea to write a children's book about Katie.  I love that she couldn't NOT write it, and I love having this book available to little girls (and boys, too).  Check this out, the lesser-known first verse and the well-known chorus, which means a lot more to me now:
Katie Casey was baseball mad.
Had the fever and had it bad;
Just to root for the hometown crew,
Every sou Katie blew.
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said...
"Not I'll tell you what you can do." 
"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out to the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out
At the old ball game."
Lorelei and her little contemporaries won't know the limits that Katie Casey knew and fought against, thanks to Title 9 and time.  But even when we went to the baseball game on Father's Day, she asked why girls weren't playing.  She wants to do all the things that Ben can do and hopefully want to do them better.

It's great to have a book to explain that once they did, and maybe once again...they can.

And now...a very short clip on Women's Baseball in WWII:

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