THE BABE RUTH BALLET SCHOOL
ILLUSTRATIONS: TIM SHORTT
WILLOWDALE, ONT.: FIREFLY BOOKS, 1996,
AGES 4 AND UP
It's 1923, and nine-year-old Issy Archer pitches the best spitballs in
the American baseball league. Her teammate and best friend is Babe Ruth,
star hitter for the New York Yankees. Issy has a secret she loves dancing
even better than baseball and dreams of becoming a ballerina. This story
tells how she persuades Babe Ruth to dance with her. In a nostalgic trip
back to the glory days of the big leagues, baseball and ballet are combined
with riotous results. Quirky illustrations feature big-headed characters,
with names like Schoolboy Hoyt and Bullet Joe Bush, sporting blue-striped
Yankees uniforms, while Babe Ruth and Issy are hilarious in tights and
ballet slippers. Baseball fans of any age will be entertained by this comical
jaunt into baseball history.
BATS ABOUT BASEBALL
JEAN LITTLE AND CLAIRE MacKAY
ILLUSTRATIONS: KIM LaFAVE
TORONTO: PUFFIN BOOKS,
1996, ©1995, 31 P.
AGES 4 TO 8
Nana is bats about baseball. Once the baseball season begins, it is almost
impossible to talk to her about anything else; but Ryder tries anyway.
As Nana settles down to watch a Jays game, Ryder asks, "do you think I
should be an ornithologist when I grow up? I could be like Grandpa Winger
and study birds." Nana doesn't seem to hear. "The Jays play the Orioles
today," she says as she nestles into a chair with Ryder perched at her
side. Ryder giggles at Nana's witty puns. He'll trick her next time. Soon
a hilarious linguistic battle ensues with Nana catching every one of Ryder's
"curve balls." Saucy cartoon-like watercolours complement the humorous
word play, making this book a winner from beginning to end.
SASKATOON: THISTLEDOWN PRESS, 1995, 215 P.
14 TO 16
School is over and 16-year-old Chris Knox is looking forward to a summer
of sun, sea and windsurfing. But when his hometown of Rocky Harbour is
targeted as the site for a waste-burning incinerator, Chris is outraged.
Along with Marina, a newcomer to the town who shares his concern for the
environment, Chris struggles to prevent the installation of the incinerator.
Caught up in a wave of youthful idealism, Chris and Marina soon find themselves
involved in a conflict that threatens to tear apart not only their community,
but also their new-found relationship. With the help of his windsurfing
skills, it's up to Chris to save Rocky Harbour in a plan that is both daring
THE BOXING CHAMPION
ILLUSTRATIONS: SHELDON COHEN
TRANSLATION: SHEILA FISCHMAN
TUNDRA BOOKS, 1991, 24 P.
AGES 8 AND UP
AVAILABLE IN FRENCH: UN CHAMPION (MONTRÉAL: LIVRES TOUNDRA, 1991)
Roch Carrier and Sheldon Cohen have teamed up over the years to produce
storybooks about hockey, baseball, basketball, and boxing a sport for
each season of the year. These books paint an authentic picture of a child's
life in rural Quebec over 50 years ago. In The Boxing Champion, the village
children gather at the beginning of spring in the Côtés' summer kitchen
for their annual boxing match. Roch, a puny little kid, hangs back for
he knows he will be shamed on the very first punch. A year later, after
secretly training all winter with Miracle Muscle barbells, he is the first
in the ring and acting like a champion. Double whammy! He is once again
flat on his back, but this time the prettiest girl in his class smiles
at him. Ah, spring!
Kwok-Ken Wong, an 18-year-old growing up on a poor mud flat farm in Vancouver
during the depression, is at odds with the world and himself. He doesn't
fit in at school where he is the only Chinese student. He is ill at ease
in Chinatown because his family no longer lives there. His authoritarian
parents are always nagging him about schoolwork and farmwork, and his dreams
of soccer glory and a scholarship to university are thwarted at every turn.
Eventually, after playing against the Caucasian team in a championship
soccer game, he comes to realize that, although everything in life is not
fair, he has a place that he values and wants to preserve.
CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE: CANADIAN WOMEN ATHLETES
VANCOUVER: POLESTAR BOOK PUBLISHERS, 1995, 255 P.
14 AND UP
This fascinating collection of biographical essays showcases over 200 Canadian
women athletes who have excelled in their chosen sport. It documents their
accomplishments and describes the climb to the top, highlighting struggles
and successes, feelings and fears along the way. A very attractive book
for browsing or serious study, it is divided into nine thematic sections
(sports in snow, on ice, in water, on water, gym dandies, etc.) and covers
more than 35 sports. Almost every page includes wonderful black and white
photographs which capture the spirit and zeal of the athletes in action.
It concludes with useful lists of statistics, medallists, and award-winners,
a bibliography, a resource list of organizations for women in sport, and
TORONTO: JAMES LORIMER, 1993, 153 P.
AGES 8 TO 11
Tom's working mom doesn't want him home alone during summer vacation, so
she gives him a choice: attend summer camp or visit his uncle in Winnipeg.
Uncle Nick's promise to sign him up with the local Little League baseball
team is the clincher and before long he is the catcher for the Windsor
Park Red Sox on a ball diamond not far from his uncle's restaurant, the
Olympic Diner. He makes friends with the best player, third baseman Kelly
Myers a girl! He is bullied by the pitcher, Jeff Foster, whose wicked
curve ball is hard to catch. And he learns to love Uncle Nick and his high-quality
hamburgers. This light summer fare will be a sure hit with baseball fans.
Jim Redcrow, a Métis teenager, finds himself racing in two sled-dog races
in order to earn enough money to pay for the upkeep of his beloved and
loyal huskies. A finely drawn character, Jim is sensitive not only to the
racial slurs which he must endure at school and on the trail, but also
to his native heritage and his grandfather's stories about the powerful,
omniscient spirits who are part of everything in life. In the second race,
a challenging event which lasts three days, he must deal with the harsh
realities of the competition as well as a mystical encounter with his own
guardian spirit. More than an adventure novel, this story addresses questions
of racism, two cultures, and a young man's growing self-acceptance.