Play Ball

Featured
 
4.5 (2)
 
3.0 (1)
1937 0
Play Ball
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Publisher
Age Range
10+
Release Date
April 25, 2012
ISBN
978-1934964798
Buy This Book
      
Most girls, when they get to a new school, just want to fit in. But Dashiell Brody isn't like most girls. A natural at softball, Dashiell discovers her new school has a championship level baseball team - and Dashiell wants to play ball! One girl's quest to play the national pastime with the boys will turn her family, her school, and her state upside down!

Editor reviews

2 reviews

So much more than a girl-playing-a-boy-sport story
(Updated: April 29, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
There is no crying in baseball.

What there is in baseball, however, is narrative. There is heroism, teamwork, character, courage, perseverance, skill and endurance. And so it is with PLAY BALL, the new graphic novel written by Nunzio Defilippis and Christina Weir and drawn by Jackie Lewis. Like lots of other great baseball stories (Field of Dreams, The Natural, A League of Their Own, The Pride of the Yankees, Bull Durham...) you don't even have to like baseball to love the book. PLAY BALL is, to some extent, a sports story I suppose, but far more than that, it's a story about a girl who just wants real life to play fair.

I loved the stark black-and-white art which both evoked newspaper comics and suggested something about the lack of grey area in how too many people think about gender. Dash, the protagonist of this story, is a girl, yes, but she’s also a tremendous athlete, and doesn’t want to play what she describes as a “watered-down” version of baseball. She wants the real deal, and has the talent and determination to do it. For her, this is not a feminist stance or political maneuver. She simply loves the game, and wants to do what she is best at.

At its core, the story is about allowing people to be who they are. Arica, Dash’s sister, is more typically girly. She wants to date baseball players, not be one. Dash needs to learn not to despise her for that, while Arica needs to learn to let Dash choose her own path. The shadow of an absent father, one whose lack of interest is clear to us, if not always to Dash, also speaks of the need we all have to see the people we love clearly – rather than seeing them as we wish they were.

So the story in its most basic form is: Teen girl at new school wants to play baseball (not softball) and despite disapproval of sister, peers and school, makes the team. Saying more would give away the rather satisfying (as in, I actually got teary) ending. So while there is no crying in baseball, for me at least, there was a bit of crying in PLAY BALL.
Good Points
A sports story to suit even the most sports-phobic reader
Sympathetic protagonist
Kick-ass feminist teacher
Righteous boys, and boys who learn to be righteous
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
A Sports Book for Everyone
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
I'm always looking to add sports books to my collection, but the challenge is that I don't really enjoy reading them. There are many sports that don't interest me, and I would rather be playing the ones that do. I want to read all the books that I recommend to students, so the sports readers in my class end up with a slim selection. I feel fortunate to have found PLAY BALL, Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir's newly released graphic novel about a girl who joins her school's baseball team. This is a book which I read eagerly, and that I know my students will love.

After her parents' divorce, Dashiell moves to a new house, along with her mother and her fashionable sister, Arica. A change which excites Dash is that her new school has a baseball team that she is dying to join. Unfortunately, the only person who supports her dream is her mother. Arica fears social suicide, the coach and players claim that it's against the rules for a girl to join the team, the softball team is offended that she won't play for them, and her father won't even return her calls.

Dash is an extremely likable heroine. Although she protests the school's policies about gender and sports, it won't be too radical for young readers; she really just wants to play the game she loves. Dash's talent is undeniable, yet she is relatable. She hides her disappointment behind a mask, lashes out at her mother when she is really angry at her father, and has conflicts with her sister. There are many different aspects to the drama in PLAY BALL, but the authors are able to resolve them in a satisfying way.

While I would have preferred for the illustrations to be in color, I enjoyed Jackie Lewis' art. Her drawings of the baseball games kept me interested in a part of the book that I might have skimmed if it wasn't a graphic novel. Even better, Dash looks like a normal girl, freckled and unconcerned about anything but the game. Male readers won't be alienated by her character, rather, they will wish that they had a best friend like her.

PLAY BALL is a key addition to the sports section of my library, a book that bridges interests and will appeal to all readers.
Good Points
Dash is a great role model.
Realistic lessons and morals.
This book will appeal to readers who don't like sports.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0  (1)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
2.0  (1)
Already have an account? or Create an account
Could Have Been Longer
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
2.0
This is my third experience with the graphic novel-writing team of DeFilippis and Weir. Previously, I read some Amazing Agent Luna and the first volume of The Avalon Chronicles. Although Play Ball was pretty cute, it's definitely my least favorite of the bunch.

The story was definitely sweet, and I appreciate the feminist element. Speaking of which, this really did always bother me. Why do girls play softball and boys baseball? The heck is that about? Girls can't hit a smaller ball? I believe this to be false. The genders should play the same sports. I really don't see why there should be a sport just for boys or just for girls unless anatomy comes into it, which...gross. I'm even bothered by the fact that women and men mostly do different gymnastics stuff, not that I feel like any woman should resent not having to do the rings except on principle. Also the pommel horse one. Those are stupid.

I feel like I've lost track of what I was talking about. Um, to sum up that meandering rant, girls are awesome and they should be allowed to play any sport they damn well please! The plot line may sound vaguely familiar to anyone who saw A League of Their Own, which is also about women playing baseball, although not a high school girl on a boy's team. Take that movie and add a soupcon of She's the Man. You've pretty much got Play Ball.

That's the real issue I had with this. It doesn't do anything new or innovative. From the opening chapters, I knew EXACTLY what was going to happen. And I was right about every bit of it. I do want to offer props though for the fact that Dashiell (who is awesome for wanting to go by a unique name) has a male best friend, with whom she didn't have to have any sexual tension. So glad when pop culture doesn't subscribe to the When Harry Met Sally mentality, even though I love that movie.

Wow, I am really easily distracted today, huh? Oh, what's that over there? A puppy? *runs after puppy* Book review. Right. I should wrap this up before I find myself discussing my policies on the space program or something.

The art for Play Ball also really didn't work for me. When reading something graphic, the art is often a clincher on my enjoyment level, because, well, it's kind of the point. It's not terrible, and might appeal to some, but I preferred the look of The Avalon Chronicles myself.

Play Ball is a sweet, fun, fast read that I recommend to people who feel like a quick dose of girl power.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Woven in Moonlight
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The new fifth edition of National Geographic's award-winning atlas is...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
It’s a piece of cake! ...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The second book in a new arc in the bestselling...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The tenth book in Ralph Masiello’s popular drawing series shows...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
When they're stuck under one roof, the house may not...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
They thought their troubles were over … but they’ve only...
The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Bohring-home to 453 people, 2,053 alligators, and one...
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal! New from Michael L....
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Fast, funny, frightening—and filled with shocks and surprises. These books...
Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finding out my mother was taken by the demons...
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut about first love and second...
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love,...
Golden Crown
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
No longer only a warrior. Not just a queen....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first vampire. The last Nephilim. The end...
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
What is it like to live in 4519 AD...

Latest Member Reviews

The Fowl Twins (The Fowl Twins, #1)
 
5.0
"I have never read the original Artemis Fowl books but now I absolutely intend to. The Fowl Twins is highly..."
 
5.0
"Brilliant. This was the perfect book to read with my five year old niece. It's every bit as..."
 
5.0
"Cute and Fun There's no end to the adorableness of Amelia Bedelia and this book is no different. Amelia..."
The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
"THE MONSTER HYPOTHESIS is a really fun middle grade investigative mystery. Kick is living with her grandmother, a fake psychic..."
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
"Ren and Kip aren't sure what to expect when they visit their Aunt for Halloween. She works at an Old..."
Stuffed
 
4.0
"STUFFED follows Clark and Foon. Clark is a boy who loves stuffed animals and feels that they keep him safe...."
The Edge of the Word (Mightier than the Sword, #2)
 
5.0
"THE EDGE OF THE WORD is another absolutely delightful interactive story, where you are the main character in the book...."
Rat Rule 79: An Adventure (Yonder, #1)
 
5.0
"RAT RULE 79 is charming, ridiculous, and completely engaging. Fred is about to turn thirteen in a new place, as..."
Magic Tree House Deluxe Holiday Edition: Christmas in Camelot
 
4.0
"Jack and Annie get an invitation from "M" to spend Christmas in Camelot, which excites them since they haven't heard..."
Awesome Dog 5000 (#1)
 
4.0
"Marty Fontana and his mother move to a new town for her job, and have a house that belonged to..."
The Big Game
 
4.0
"Danny lives in Texas with his mother and former Pittsburgh Steelers player father, who now sells farm machinery. The father..."
Pippa Park Raises Her Game
 
4.0
"Pippa loves to play basketball and struggles a tiny bit in school. She lives with her much older sister, Mina,..."
Superman of Smallville
 
4.0
"Clark Kent is trying to be an ordinary thirteen-year-old boy but he has a very extraordinary pastime. He loves saving..."
Magic Tree House Deluxe Holiday Edition: Christmas in Camelot
 
5.0
"Jack and Annie are so excited when they receive a Royal Invitation to attend Christmas in Camelot! However, they only..."
DC Super Hero Girls: At Metropolis High
 
3.0
"SUPER HERO GIRLS brings us Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Green Lantern, Bumblebee, and Zatanna as teenagers. When they aren't trying..."
Laugh-Out-Loud Adventure Jokes for Kids
 
4.0
"LAUGH OUT LOUD ADVENTURE JOKES FOR KIDS is packed from cover to cover with humor that are made for the..."
Black Canary: Ignite
 
4.0
"Dinah wants nothing more than to help keep Gotham City safe by following in her dad's footsteps and become a..."
On Snowden Mountain
 
4.0
"ON SNOWDEN MOUNTAIN is a heavy historical middle grade read, which deals with depression, alcoholism, war, domestic abuse/violence, and child..."
The Little Grey Girl (The Wild Magic Trilogy, #2)
 
5.0
"THE LITTLE GREY GIRL is the second book in a trilogy, but I found that it could be read on..."
Mightier Than the Sword (Mightier Than the Sword, #1)
 
4.0
"Part mad libs and activity book plus fully developed fictional story, MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD is a delightfully interactive read..."