Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings

Overview

When Alta Weiss throws a corncob at a tomcat chasing her favorite hen, folks know one thing for sure: she may be a girl, but she's got some arm. At the age of six Alta can nail any target, and by seventeen she's outpitched every boy in town. Then one day her father takes Alta to Vermilion, Ohio — home of the semipro baseball team called the Independents. "Where do I sign up?" she asks. But one look at Alta tells the coach all he needs to know: She's a girl, and girls can't play baseball. But faster than you can ...

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Overview

When Alta Weiss throws a corncob at a tomcat chasing her favorite hen, folks know one thing for sure: she may be a girl, but she's got some arm. At the age of six Alta can nail any target, and by seventeen she's outpitched every boy in town. Then one day her father takes Alta to Vermilion, Ohio — home of the semipro baseball team called the Independents. "Where do I sign up?" she asks. But one look at Alta tells the coach all he needs to know: She's a girl, and girls can't play baseball. But faster than you can say "strike out," Alta proves him wrong: Girls can play baseball!

In the early 1900s, Alta Weiss, a young woman who knows from an early age that she loves baseball, finds a way to show that she can play, even though she is a girl.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Widener's animated, period paintings are in perfect pitch with the winning tone of Hopkinson's story, relayed in the voice of `girl wonder' Alta Weiss," PW wrote. Ages 5-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is a creative telling of the life of Alta Weiss, a female pitcher on Ohio's semipro male team, the Vermilion Independents. It is divided into nine moments of time, in other words, her nine innings of life. Inning number one tells of her first real pitch at age two when she threw a corncob at a pesky cat, smacking it hard and true. Inning number four describes her ability to strike out every boy in town, and conversations with friends that claim "you're almost a lady...Isn't time you quit playing games?" The seventh inning stretch occurs when her first true attempt as a semipro player is tested. Alta pitches five innings, plays on first, and leads the team to a victory. At the ninth inning and the conclusion of the book, the reader learns of Alta's professional move into medicine and her graduation from an otherwise all-male medical school in 1914. The illustrations accompanying this text consist of broad and bold pastel strokes. There is a good use of shadow throughout, bringing depth and strength to the pages. This book is an excellent resource for anyone wishing to convey the importance of determination and self-truth. 2003, Antheneum Books for Young Readers,
— Andrea Sears Andrews
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Alta Weiss "must have been born to play baseball," and as the first woman to join a men's semipro team in 1907, she did just that. This first-person fictionalized account is a powerful testament to her talent and determination. Spirited acrylic illustrations are equally noteworthy. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A winning author-illustrator team hits a home run with this top-notch tale about Alta Weiss, who played semi-pro baseball in early 1900s. Hopkinson (Our Kansas Home, Feb. 2003, etc.) takes facts from an adult nonfiction book, Women at Play, by Barbara Gregorich, and fictionalizes them just enough to craft a compelling story. With a hint of tall-tale exaggeration, Weiss’s conversational first-person voice draws images from country life and slang from baseball. "I could read his line of thinking, clear as a catcher’s signs," Alta observes about her new coach. Widener’s (The Twins and the Bird of Darkness, 2002, etc.) rounded, oversized figures have a legendary quality that perfectly suits the language and setting, and accurately reflect Weiss’s change of uniform from a dress in her first year to bloomers later on. In the elegant design, generous white space frames the acrylic paintings, which vary in perspective and size from humorous close-ups to a team line-up on the endpapers. Baseballs with inning numbers unobtrusively divide the story into nine parts. As a fitting end to a remarkable story, Weiss is shown following in her father’s footsteps to become a doctor, the only female in her class of 1914. A pleasure to look at and read aloud, this concludes with a timeline about women in baseball and, on the back cover, a wonderful black-and-white photograph of Alta Weiss preparing to pitch. (Picture book. 4-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416913931
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 190,906
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Hopkinson

Deborah Hopkinson is the author of numerous award-winning children's books, including Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, winner of the International Reading Association Award, Girl Wonder, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award, and Apples to Oregon, a Junior Library Guild Selection. She received the 2003 Washington State Book Award for Under the Quilt for the Night. She lives in Oregon. Visit her on the Web at www.deborahhopkinson.com.

Terry Widener is an award-winning illustrator whose picture books include Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man (a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book) and The Babe & I (a recipient of the California Young Reader Medal), both by David A. Adler, and Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings (a Junior Library Guild Selection) by Deborah Hopkinson. Mr. Widener lives with his family in McKinney, Texas.

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