Friday, October 28, 2011

Macy, Sue. Basketball Belles.

Macy, Sue. Basketball Belles.
Holiday House 2011 unp 16.95
978-0-8234-2163-3 VG

Rights of women are highlighted in this small biography of a young cowgirl, Agnes Morley, who attends Stanford, plays in the first women’s college basketball game and proves that women can be feminine yet tough! There is a certain “je ne sais quoi” about this book that makes it a good choice for an elementary school library. Yes, there are gaps of information which might be too much for a younger reader to handle. For example, what is it about basketball that inspires young Agnes to choose the sport upon her arrival to Stanford? In addition, one will ask about the inspiration behind Smith’s Senda Berenson and her adaptation of men’s ball to female rules. If the reader can ignore such gaps as these, the book has a good message and outstanding artistry. The faces literally shine with rich colors and rich expressions as the Stanford team, attired in bloomers and tights, achieves victory over Berkeley back in 1896. Agnes tells her story in first person, bringing the first game alive to the audience, and when the game ends with a score of 2-1, the reader has been treated to firsthand details of a game that changed the history of college basketball.
One sees this book as a possible series about female firsts, and a valid set for a library to use when celebrating women’s rights. Ending with a page of biographical information about Morley and a timeline which shows the highlights of the development of women’s basketball, the book also offers 6 resources for readers to consult to learn more. If extensive biographical details are the goal of the student or classroom teacher, the book does not meet that goal. This book is a good choice for an elementary school library as well as a public library. The topic of women’s rights is universal, and this book offers a unique perspective on the origins of contemporary women’s basketball. Squaresky, Martha

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