The Babe Ruth Ballet School

Tim Shortt, Author Firefly Books $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55209-030-5
Despite a dynamite opening line (""The last 9-year-old girl to play Big League baseball was Issy Archer of the 1923 New York Yankees""), this picture book debut quickly unravels. Issy's famous spitball makes her as celebrated a pitcher as her best friend Babe Ruth is a hitter, and the two pal around after games. Issy's secret penchant for dancing, however, puts a strain on the friendship (she's afraid he'll laugh at her). Instead, Babe takes up hoofing himself, crediting ballet lessons for his success on the baseball diamond. The childlike premise gives way to an adult sensibility, evident in the arch narration and in winking references to Ernest Hemingway, but clearest in the art. Shortt renders his figures as troll-like caricatures with oversized heads and foreshortened bodies, giving them sour, creepy expressions. A flatfooted fantasy. All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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