The Basket Ball
What It Is
Lulu loved to do all “girly” activities such as dress-up and playing with her dolls, but she loved playing basketball most of all. Unfortunately, the boys at school wouldn’t let her play with them. So she decided to host her own basket “ball” and invited girls from around the world to attend. Dozens of girls came in their frilly dresses and “high top heels,” and played like super stars. The “ball” was such a hit that they all decided to make it an annual event.
Why It’s Fun
Based on the title, colorful illustrations and implied theme, we wanted to love this rhyming book, but found it was far from a slam-dunk. The premise is certainly positive, centering on a girl who is so comfortable with herself that she can go from playing fancy tea parties to a game of basketball with the boys. However, ultimately the author doesn’t really talk about empowerment; she reinforces a sexist stereotype. What’s wrong with co-ed sports and where was the teacher to intervene? Why shouldn’t she create a basketball team that didn’t require the girly accessories? At my daughter’s school, the kids choose to play co-ed soccer at recess nearly every day! Many of the girls are better than the boys too! At least Lulu had the gumption and leadership to start her own team. Unfortunately, it was only made up of girls in fancy party dresses. The rhyme started out great and it seemed like it was going to be a fun book to read, but the verse soon fell flat and dipped into an awkward, forced rhythm. it didn’t help that we were also turned off by the story.
Who’s Going To Love It
All (or most) books deserve to be read at least once, and in this case I’ll let you make your own choice as to whether you love it or not. I can say, that we did not, and my recommendation would be to check it out of your local library first and read it yourself before you decide that its message is appropriate for your family.
About 2-3 minutes
3 out of 10
THE BASKET BALL
Written by: Esmé Raji Codell; Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas
Published by: Abrams (2011)
Approximate retail price: $16.95
Publisher’s recommended ages: (not provided)