BILLY AT BAT
Martha Henry. Illustrated by Mary McLoughlin.
Volume 14 Number 2
Although this is the author's first book for children, she has a background in writing, having obtained a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of British Columbia. This book was published with the assistance of the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council. A fanciful story of Billy, who can do almost anything; ride a unicycle, read while standing on his head, catch a ball, throw a ball, but who cannot hit a baseball, no matter how hard he tries. Belittled by the other boys, and always the last chosen for a team, he is most unhappy. A mysterious coach appears in Billy's backyard and everything changes. The setting and the characters are very true to life. The reader feels the mood of the sand lot players and Billy's humiliation and discouragement.The inclusion of the magic coach and the superlative ball feats are imaginative, entertaining, and effective. The major theme of self-worth and the minor theme of team play are realistically developed. The book reads easily, with natural conversation and a minimum of description. Good suspense and a surprising conclusion will hold the young reader's attention. The story is complemented with full-page, three-colour, lively illustrations facing each page of text drawn by Mary McLoughlin, a freelance artist who lives in Peterborough. This little book can be used as recreational reading, and also as enrichment reading for such topics as self-development, self-concept, getting along with others, and fair play. A pleasing and useful book.
Alma Webster, Edmonton, AB.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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