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A celebration of one girl's passion to play ball--and of the legendary little pink ball that inspired her greatest hit.
Annie Ellis is always itching to pitch her lucky Sky-High Super Pinkie. It makes the sweetest sound: off her fist, a mop handle, or the wall. The possibilities are endless. Her teacher, Miss Hatchett, threatens to pop the pesky Pinkie and it's a challenge not to lost it to Mrs. O'Donnell's dog. But the biggest threat of all is Annie's Super, who hopes to add Annie's ball to his infamous collection of neighborhood Pinkies. When Annie's ball is the only one left, she has to risk using--and losing--it at the weekly punchball game. Her "last licks" brings a spectacular hit--over the tops of sycamore trees, through the light and dark and dusk of day. But it's her final surprising confrontation with the dreaded Super that will have readers young and old cheering!
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Cari Best grew up in New York City in an extended European family dominated by confident, beautiful women who loved to talk. As a result, she was a very shy child who found out, happily, that she didn't need to talk to be a good writer or a good athlete. One of the highlights of her childhood was winning a school-wide spelling bee with the words "aurora borealis". One of the highlights of her adulthood was being invited to the Baseball Hall of Fame to talk about her childhood. A graduate of Queens College (City University of New York), Cari Best holds an MLS degree from Drexel University (Philadelphia). She has served as special librarian at the International Reading Association (1975-76), librarian at a public library, and is currently editorial director at a film company (since 1986). Cari Best has written several picture books including the 1995 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer's Award Winner Taxi! Taxi!, Red Light, Green Light, Mama and Me (Orchard), Getting Used to Harry (Orchard), Top Banana (Orchard), Montezuma's Revenge (Orchard), Last Licks: A Spaldeen Story (DK Ink), and most recently, the acclaimed Three Cheers for Catherine the Great (DK Ink), which received starred reviews in Publisher's Weekly, School Library Journal, and Booklist. She lives in Weston, Connecticut.
Diane Palmisciano has illustrated several books for children, including Cari Best's Getting Used to Harry. Booklist praised her "endearing characters, [which] catch the story's flavor perfectly." She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.From Publishers Weekly:
Best's (Taxi! Taxi!) nostalgic paean to the Spaldeen, the pink rubber ball that was once a playground staple, has ample bounce at its start, yet its one-note narrative stretches the concept a bit thin. Fortunately, Palmisciano's (previously teamed with Best for Getting Used to Harry) oil pastel pictures keep these busy pages fresh; she endows the animated, amusingly exaggerated characters with plenty of silly antics and facial expressions. City gal Annie would rather play ball with her "lucky Sky-High Super Pinkie" than do anything else, much to the chagrin of her teacher (who would prefer that she focus on the spelling lesson) and her aunt, father and mother (who wish that she shared their respective interests in knitting, bugs and exercise). Annie and her friends play punchball with her Pinkie only on Sundays, when the superintendent of their apartment building is away; he has already confiscated all the other kids' balls. Though Annie's ball meets the same fate, its journey there takes a surprising twist, and the girl becomes somewhat of a neighborhood celebrity. Best writes in a cheerful, colloquial voice, but the repeated bouncing, squeezing and smelling of Annie's balls here grows tiresome, and seasoned ballplayers may find her easy parting from her beloved Spaldeen suspect at story's end. Ages 6-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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