Players in Pigtails

Players in Pigtails

by Shana Corey, Rebecca Gibson, Rebecca Gibbon

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Did you know that one of America's favorite songs, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," was written about a girl? And that in the 1940s girls all across America were crazy for our country's favorite game?These little known facts inspired Shana Corey to imagine a story about how one determined girl made her way to the big leagues & found a sisterhood of players in pigtails.… See more details below

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Did you know that one of America's favorite songs, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," was written about a girl? And that in the 1940s girls all across America were crazy for our country's favorite game?These little known facts inspired Shana Corey to imagine a story about how one determined girl made her way to the big leagues & found a sisterhood of players in pigtails. With the same exuberant spirit that fueled the formation of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, joyful text & jubilant pictures celebrate these brave girls' love of the game & the league they called their own.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books July/August 2003
If you can only imagine 'Take Me Out to the Bafigaine' as sung by a gravelly Harry Caray or a chorus of beer-soaked male spectators, then you probably haven't heard all the verses. The 'voice' belongs to fictional Katic Casey (no relation, we presume, to the venerable Mudvifle slugger), who drags her beau to the balipark. Corey warps the 1908 'baseball mad' maid ahead to 1943, where she becomes an archetypal player on the Kenosha Comets of the AR-American Girls Professional Baseball League. While this contortion is an unnecessary stretch, the story of Katie's long step up to the plate is lots of fun, as World War 11 and a visionary Phifip Wrigicy offer aspiring women players a chance of a lifetime. Corey has an eye for the details that will satisfy the picture-book set-from naysayers behind the scenes and hecklers in the stands, to prissy, impractical unifornu and mandatory charm-school manners on the field. Gibbon sets her lanky players against airy white space and swathes of summery pastels, coyly contrasting their tomboyish grace with the more demure stylishness of their stay-at-home sisters. A lengthy author's note supplies information about the league, and lyrics to 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' and the 'Victory Song' of the AAGPBL grace the endpapers. A more enticing title than Adler's Mama Played Baseball (BCCB 4/03), Pigtails is a solid hit. EB

Booklist June 1, 2003 *STAR*
The author of You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer (2000) is back, and using the movie A League of Their Own as inspiration, has penned an exuberant tribute to the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She opens with all the words to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," including the opening lines that show the 1908 song is in a female voice. Setting the story during World War 11, Corey introduces baseball-mad Katie Casey. Katie doesn't dance well, or cook well, or knit, but she sure can play baseball, although she isn't allowed to try out for the school team. Then, with all the boys going off to war, Phillip Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs, holds tryouts for girls' teams, and hundreds show up, including Katie. The Rockford Peaches (and three other teams) are born and play worthy baseball. Kids, both girls and boys, will revel in the energy and joy Corey packs into her story. Gibbon's pictures look straight out of the 1940s, with vintage details and an evocative color palette. They also possess a winsome charm that plays nicely with the text. Corey's sly repetition of the phrase "What good is baseball to a girl?" will have modem-day sluggers longing for a turn at bat. -GraceAnne A. DeCandido.

School Library Journal
(April 1, 2003; 0-439-18305-7)

K-Gr 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 brie

Publishers Weekly
Most folks can sing the refrain to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," but fewer know the verses about a "baseball mad" girl named Katie Casey. In this sprightly story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of the 1940s, Corey (You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!) gives the fictional Katie a mitt and a powerful swing. Katie, with arms akimbo and a mischievous grin, "wasn't good at being a girl at least not the kind of girl everyone thought she should be." The tomboy "prefer[s] sliding to sewing, batting to baking, and home runs to homecoming." She seems not to notice her home-ec teacher's anxiety or her parents' frowns at her unladylike interest. When professional men's baseball goes into decline during WWII, Katie travels to Chicago's Wrigley Field to try out for a nascent women's league; she's recruited to the Kenosha (Wis.) Comets. With a shrewd eye to '40s fashion and wavy hairdos, Gibbon (Poetry at Play: Outside the Lines) pictures the team playing in tan dresses, blue knee socks and caps, while Katie's once-disapproving parents smile in the stands. The sunny watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations situate one girl's experience within wider American history; on one spread, a casual portrait of FDR appears while, opposite, a draft notice lies in an abandoned ball field. Corey blends lively fiction and fact, and includes an enthusiastic afterword about her research into the AAGPBL (David A. Adler's Mama Played Baseball, illus. by Chris O'Leary, [reviewed Feb. 3] also explores the subject). Corey's latest title makes an impressive addition to her growing backlist of historical, feminist-themed picture books. Ages 5-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) existed from 1943-1954. It was established when men's baseball ceased due to the number of players fighting in World War II. The AAGPBL consisted of young women around the United States with a life-long passion for the game and a talent to match. The author was inspired to write about this unique time in sports' history after seeing the movie "A League of Their Own" and discovering that the famous song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was actually written about a baseball-loving girl. The main character of this book is that girl, Katie Casey. Katie feels awkward at all of the "expected" feminine activities and most comfortable at an unexpected one� baseball. When the opportunity to play on a professional girl's team materializes, Katie jumps at the chance. The reader travels with her throughout her journey to realize a dream and learns all about the AAGPBL. It is a perfect mix of fact and fiction, making it a delightful historical fiction piece for children. The illustrations are bright and lively, just like the main character, and depict the 1940's style of "women on the move." 2003, Scholastic Press,
— 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
This upbeat but uneven book draws from the history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and the famous song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Carey (Milly and the Macy's Parade, 2002, etc.) takes Katie Casey, who in the famous song "was baseball mad," and imagines that she was recruited for the women's league, founded in 1943 when many professional male players joined the military. A scout recruits Katie, who is inept at stereotypical female pastimes like cooking but great at baseball, for the Kenosha Comets. On opening day, she hits a grand-slam to win the game. The inclusion of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," a song about a girl on a date rooting for "the boys," and the title word "pigtails," a term more associated with young children than professional athletes, both seem at odds with the book's role described in the author's note as a "tribute" to the "women" of the AAGPBL. But even more jarring is the style of illustration, which portrays all the players as slim and perky, unlike many of the real, often muscular, players. Accuracy is further undermined by the picture of a dark-skinned player being scouted, giving the impression that the AAGPBL had African-American players, which it did not. A more accurate and engaging picture book on the same subject is Dirt on Their Skirts: The Story of the Young Women Who Won the World Championship (2000), by Doreen Rappaport and Lyndall Callan, with illustrations by E.B. Lewis, that shows sturdy players and include photographs of them on the endpapers. (Picture book. 5-9)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
9.26(w) x 10.44(h) x 0.34(d)
350L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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