Early Book Review: Joy in Mudville by Bob Raczka and Glin Dibley

Joy in Mudville is a picturebook written by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Glin Dibley. This follow up to the famous poem Casey at the Bat is scheduled for release on April 1 2014. On the day after Mighty Casey struck out Mudville team's fans are full of gloom and despair. However, there is a new day and a new game and this time Casey has proved his might at bat. This time it is the Mudville pitcher that is starting to wane. A rookie, that just happens for be female, steps up to the mound to prove that a girl can play ball as well as any boy?

Joy in Mudville is a book that sets out to prove that girls can be just as good at sports as the guys. However, I am not sure that is what it does. It shows that Joy, our rookie pitcher, and her catcher are creative but not that she is a great baseball player. She pitches one ball like a football, another like a tennis ball, and the third like a basketball. While she manages to get all three pitches in the strike zone, which is quite an amazing feat considering her pitching style,. While I fully believe that everyone can play sports well based on skill rather than gender, I do not think that this story really shows that. I think Joy is either very confused or going a bit far in her example of just how awesome she is. Frankly I do not know of any baseball players, regardless of gender, that would pitch a ball by hitting it with their glove and acting like you are serving a tennis ball. I think just showing a female being a great pitcher would serve children and adults much better than this. I know it is supposed to make the story fun, and show just how amazing a female pitcher can be, but fun could have been achieved with different tactics.

I would recommend Joy in Mudville to serious fans of  Bob Raczka and Glin Dibley.  I did enjoy the artwork, but the story itself makes it hard for me to recommend.

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