Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Author Crystal Hubbard hits one out of the ballpark with Catching the Moon. Young Marcenia Lyle loves baseball but her dream of being a professional ballplayer seems as unreachable as the white orb outside her window at night. In the 1930s, the only jobs available to African American women are teacher, nurse and maid, according to her parents, who worry about their daughter's tomboy ways. But Marcenia keeps playing and even convinces Mr. Gabby Street, the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, that she be allowed to attend his boys-only baseball camp. The book ends with the happy girl feeling that "she had reached right up in the sky and caught the moon in her glove." An afterword reveals that Marcenia Lyle, under the name Toni Stone, became the first female member of an all-male baseball team. A great read-aloud for February's African American History Month, this tribute to the power of dreams is further enhanced by Randy DuBurke's engaging pictures of energetic Marcenia. 2005, Lee and Low, Ages 5 up.
—Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-This anecdotal tale is based on the childhood of Marcenia "Toni Stone" Lyle Alberga (1921-1996), who became the first woman to play professional baseball. As a girl, Marcenia dreams only of playing baseball, while her strict but loving parents suggest that she stick to dolls and focus on school. One night she overhears them ruefully acknowledge the limited options that lie in store for most African-American girls: teaching, nursing, or being a maid. Marcenia promises herself that she'll achieve her goal. Opportunity arrives in the form of Gabby Street, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, who runs a free baseball camp for kids. He's impressed by her talent, but doesn't allow girls to participate. The story ends with her acceptance into the camp and her determination to make her dream come true. An afterword sums up Lyle's name change and her career, including the fact that she filled the spot vacated by Hank Aaron when he joined the Major Leagues. Hubbard's lively text does a fine job of capturing this young heroine's unquenchable spirit. DuBurke's balanced pen-and-ink and acrylic artwork strongly supports the mood and emotion of the text. Much like its winsome, pigtailed heroine, this heartwarming picture book will inspire and engage dreamers young and old.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Marcenia Lyle wants to be a professional baseball player. But as an African-American female in the 1930s, she has many strikes against her. Her parents are loving, but realistic about her limited options. When the St. Louis Cardinals manager Gabby Street forms a boys' baseball day camp, he refuses to consider allowing her to join. However, Marcenia dazzles him with her daring and skill until he agrees to let her join and even supplies the baseball shoes she lacks. Hubbard ends the account at that point. Choosing to present a vignette, a small moment, can be effective, but here Hubbard leaves the reader hanging and it's not until the afterword that the reader learns the facts of Marcenia's real life as the first female player on a professional baseball team. While Duburke's acrylic illustrations beautifully enhance the text, this format just does not seem the right choice for Marcenia's story, one that could have been better told as a picture-book biography. (Picture book. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584302438
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Review title: With All Her Heart. Have you ever wanted somethin

    Review title: With All Her Heart. Have you ever wanted something to the point that you gave it your all? Well then, you know somewhat how the protagonist of this book feels. Her heart is set on achieving her baseball goal. This is a great book to inspire youth to set a goal and then pursue that goal until its completion. *Good for encouraging students to set goals and work towards fulfilling their goals.
    Book gives a brief account of Marcenia Lyle (aka Toni Stone) Marcenia "Toni Stone" Lyle Alberga (D.O.D. = 2 November 1996). *Educational. *Inspiring. *Don't give up no matter how the situation looks, there maybe away to reach your dream that you did not think of yet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2007

    A Must-Read

    Catching The Moon is an inspiration to readers of all ages. No children's library is complete without this story of how hard work and determination can overcome societal boundaries and economic disadvantages. Loved this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2007

    An inspiration for everyone

    So many children's books come off as preachy but Catching The Moon is an entertaining, inspiring account of Marcenia Lyle, who achieved her dream of being a professional baseball player. The fact that she did it at a time in history when it was hard for African American women to achieve even the most modest career aspirations is a testament to Marcenia's hard work and drive. Catching The Moon is a great example of how dreams can come true, for anyone. Loved this book and loved reading it to my children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2007

    Just in time for the season

    As a grade school teacher in a baseball crazed Midwestern city, I look for special books to present to my class every April to coincide with Major League baseball's spring training. Catching The Moon: A Young Girl's Baseball Dream is the centerpiece of this spring's book projects. Mrs. Hubbard did an excellent job of showing the value of having a dream and how hard work and dedication are almost more important than raw talent when it comes to making a dream come true. Catching The Moon is wonderfully illustrated by Randy DuBurke, and the drawings are the perfect complement to Mrs. Hubbard's energetic, emotionally stirring text. The end of the book will give young readers cause to rejoice and the Afterword reveals that the book's young subject fulfilled her dream to play professional baseball beyond even her own imagination. This is a wonderful book with a timeless, thought-provoking message. It is suitable for readers of all ages, however readers between the ages of 6 and 10 will especially appreciate the illustrations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2006

    Exciting and Inspirational

    Grown-ups reading this book to children will learn something important about perseverance and determination in this book about the first woman to be a member of an all-male professional baseball team. This story combines true facts with dialogue both real and imagined to show that no dream is impossible, including catching the moon. I loved this book and so did my three children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2006

    Crystal Hubbard is an ace

    Catching The Moon, The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream has to be one of the greatest untold stories in the sport of baseball. Crystal Hubbard and Randy DuBurke have done an exemplary job of giving Ms. Toni Stone, the former Marcenia Lyle, the attention and honor she is due. Every person, young or old, should read this book to learn a thing or two about the rewards of perseverance and hard work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2006

    The best book ever!

    This is a book that should be read by everyone who says that girls are not good baseball players. Girls are very good baseball players. Marcenia is the best! I loved this book! It was great!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2006

    An example, not a lesson

    Catching The Moon: The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream is the story of a little girl named Marcenia, who dreams of being a professional baseball player. This ambition is most unlikely since Marcenia is a female black child growing up in America in the 1930s. Catching The Moon is a fantastic example of how determination and hard work can make any dream no matter how improbably it seems to come true. This true story of Marcenia Lyle, who really did grow up to be the first woman to play baseball in the Negro Leagues, is inspiring not just to children but to anyone who thinks it may be too late to pursue a dream. This book serves as an example to all that anything is possible. It is truly a remarkable story brilliantly told by Crystal Hubbard and wonderfully illustrated by Randy DuBurke.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2005

    Extraordinary!!!

    Catching The Moon:The Story Of A Young Girl's Baseball Dream is a brilliant story on its own made more so by its author. Crystal Hubbard read her work for a group assembled at a Barnes & Noble store and adults and children sat enraptured by her telling. Ms. Hubbard flatly insisted that Catching The Moon is not her story, that it is the story of Marcenia 'Toni Stone' Lyle. Most importantly, Ms. Hubbard taught her young listeners that Catching The Moon is the story of everyone who has every felt that a dream was out of reach. Catching The Moon is wonderfully told, beautifully illustrated, and it should be regarded as an instant classic. I was quite moved by the book as well as Ms. Hubbard's grace and dedication to her work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2005

    Inspiring, Fun and Exciting!

    Marcenia is one of the best baseball players in school but she might not get to go to baseball camp because the shoes she needs are too expensive. You will never believe who gives her the shoes! If you like baseball then you will love Catching The Moon: The Story Of A Young Girl's Baseball Dream. Even though this is a picture book it is good for older kids like me to read because it tells about a woman who grew up and played baseball.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2005

    Stunning!

    I had never even heard of a woman playing professional baseball, and this true account of Marcenia Lyle is a brilliant introduction to one of the greatest yet least known figures in American sports. The sports element is gorgeously described by Crystal Hubbard, but the greater lesson is that hard work pays off. This picture book for children has a message that people of all ages needs to learn. I really enjoyed reading this beautiful book to the girls in my classroom, but the boys enjoyed it also because of the baseball parts. This is an absolutely delightful book by a promising new voice in children's literature.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2005

    Remarkable story

    Catching The Moon, The Story of a Young Girls Baseball Dream is the kind of book that entertains children and informs adults. The perfect bedtime reading book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2005

    Standing ovation worthy

    I had the pleasure of hosting the author of this book in my classroom, and after she read the book to my students they gave the story a standing ovation. The delightful story of real-life female baseball player Marcenia Lyle is told in Catching The Moon. This is a book that will convince young girls that they can make their own dreams happen, and it convincingly shows young boys that girls are more than their equals even in the arena of sports. Children will feel Marcenia's disappointment and triumph, and adult readers will appreciate their own childhood dreams. Catching The Moon should be an integral part of every young reader's library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2005

    Perfect the way it is

    Anyone who's ever read a book to a child would know that Catching The Moon, The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream is undoubtedly one of the most stirring and inspiring picture books for young readers. The students in my third and fourth grade literature club were totally captivated by the story of Marcenia Lyle, a little girl who played her way into an all-boy baseball camp organized by St. Louis Cardinal manager Gabby Street. All children relate to Marcenia's struggle to follow her dream even though her parents didn't agree with it. It's easy for reviewers to criticize the format of a book, but if they bothered to read the actual content, they would see how awesome Catching The Moon is. The proof is in the faces of the little girls inspired by Marcenia and the little boys that now admire her. Catching The Moon is a triumph.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2005

    Inspiring and Delightful

    Catching The Moon is the delightful story of 10-year-old Marcenia Lyle, who grew up to be the first African American woman to play on an all-male baseball team. This book focuses on Marcenia's goal to go to a baseball camp. I loved this story! It very beautifully shows how one event in a child's life can change the very course of her life. This book is brilliantly written and the illustrations suit the text perfectly. This book is a masterpiece.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2005

    I liked this book very much

    If it matters what a kid thinks then I just want to say that I really, really, really liked Cathing The Moon. I liked that Marcenia liked baseball. She is good at it because she plays it a lot. This is a really good book. I liked this book a lot.

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