Written By: David A. Adler
Illustrated by: Chris O’Leary
Published By: Gulliver Books, March 2003
Suggested Readers: Ages 4-8
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was established in 1943 and entertained fans across the country while men were away at war until 1945. In David A. Adler’s Mama Played Baseball, Amy’s father is fighting in World War II and her mother struggles to make ends meet. Mama puts a hidden talent to good use and earns a spot as a professional baseball player. At first, Amy doesn’t think of baseball as a job but after seeing her mom in action her attitude changes and she even asks her mom for her autograph. Amy learns the value of having a job and decides that her own job is to help Mama practice. Towards the story’s end, Mama surprises Amy and takes her to meet her father at the bus station. Adler creates a touching moment as Mama and Dad embrace and lovingly admire each other’s uniforms. Amy narrates this story using a child’s simple language but Adler still manages to infuse the book with historical detail. The “Welcome Home” sign made for Dad’s return is hung inside the house out of respect for neighbors whose loved ones are still away or were killed in battle. Chris O’Leary’s full-page oil paintings evoke the time period and the best pictures show Mama soaring through the air to catch a baseball. The paintings evoke a warm homey mood and the story’s happy ending makes this an enjoyable read for very young readers-especially those who love their moms.