a review of Dina Anastasio's The Pinky Ball Book by Hugh M. McNally
Despite the book's heavy dose of political correctness and Y2K-esque paranoia (basically, it advises kids not to do anything dangerous, like bounce the ball near a street), this is a great little tome. There's lots of games described for kids to learn. The brief history of the ball is informative and the spaldeen is correctly presented as the ultimate evolution of ball technology, which started with ancient Egyptian kids playing with mud they'd roll up into balls. To be fair, it also explains the term "spaldeen" in a brief sentence.
The Pinky Ball Book does an excellent job of distinguishing the
"classic" city games (stickball, handball, stoopball, etc.) while recounting
many others, far less common. Over 30 games are briefly described, some we
admit we didn't know, but then we knew a few not mentioned. The treatment is
brief, but the range is just about right. The book is the latest in
The book is written at a level comfortable for a 4 - 6th grader, but with what appears to be a target audience from 8 - 14. It assumes very little knowledge of basic throwing and catching skills and starts with material that would be helpful to the absolute beginner. There are a couple of technical pointers (like pitches) that the relatively accomplished player might appreciate, but we found too much time spent on the basics. However, given that the number of kids outside playing ball is much less than when we grew up, this willingness to start at the beginning is probably a wise approach.
The Pinky Ball Book must be admired for its very purpose; to get
today's kids outside, playing some great games. The book's convenient pocket
size makes us think that it could get some use where it's most needed, "in the
street." In summation, it gets a 4 1/2 - spaldeen
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