Moon Ball is a terrific account of a young boy's out-of-this-world baseball experience. Danny's inability to hit the ball has resulted in frustration and ridicule from his peers. He has been called names such as Hitless Wonder and Danny the Whiffer. Young readers will easily relate to the challenges of team sports and competition. After striking out in a game and letting his team down, Danny thinks to himself, Just once I wish I could hit the ball. Feeling alone in his failure, Danny drifts off to sleep and dreams he is transported to the sky. This unique account of a baseball game between Danny's team, the All-Stars, and the opposing Orbits, provides young readers the chance to learn a key lesson in baseball success: Keep your eye on the ball. Author Jane Yolen also teaches a key lesson in life success: Have courage and confidence. Players on Danny's team include Orion, Dipper, and the Gemini twins. Moon, the imposing and offensive pitcher, hurls a pitch that streaks toward Danny like a comet. Danny's teammates offer him sound advice and, keeping his eye on the ball, Danny finally hits a homerun to the other side of the earth.
Yolen does an outstanding job incorporating celestial analogies into her poetic text. She also makes many subtle connections between baseball and the nighttime sky. The illustrator, Greg Couch, highlights these analogies, bringing to life the surreal elements of Danny's dream and transforming the night sky into a baseball field full of endless possibilities. The calming blues and cool, illuminating imagery will easliy entice readers to cheer from the sidelines of Danny's dream.
Mandy Beard lives and writes in Nashville, Tennessee.