Cover of Moonball by Jane Yolen


Both my boys played Little League and were fine players. But my heart always went out to the whiffers, the kids who just couldn’t play very well. Everyone–even their own parents–seemed to be down on them. So this book, about a boy who is a terrible ball player but who gets to play with the All Stars–in his dreams–is for them. It’s also an homage to “Where the Wild Things Are.” Notice that some of the players on the All Stars are female!

What reviewers have said:

  • “Yolen creates a hybrid of poetry and baseball in her fantasy tale. Her opening image of the moon “hanging over the field like a pop fly” prepares the way for Moon’s later appearance as pitcher in the celestial game, carrying on the taunts of Danny’s opposing teammates (” `No-hitter,’ sneered Moon”). Under Couch’s (First Palm Trees) skilled brush, these metaphors materialize, evincing characters with wit and flourish–especially the beefy Orbits, whose round bodies topped by tiny heads give them a humorously menacing look. The moon is the pitcher every player fears–with his small, piggish eyes and bulbous nose, his face a stylized amalgam of curves and planes, he is the very embodiment of mean-spiritedness. Yet the palette maintains a tranquil atmosphere: vivid turquoises seep into restful layers of seafoam green and inky blue, and flashes of vibrant oranges and reds glow hotly against the cooler shades, like fire against ice. The artist’s use of light is particularly effective, and the dream sequences have an eerie radiance, as if lit by reflected moon- or starlight.” — Publishers Weekly
  • “Yolen skillfully blends star and sport metaphors that work beautifully in this stellar book.” — Children’s Literature
  • “Yolen’s poetic, evocative text goes well with Couch’s shimmering, imaginative artwork done in every shade of nighttime blue. This picture book puts a surprising spin on a familiar sports theme, combining baseball dreams with celestial scenes, taking readers to a place where one boy finds the confidence he needs.” — Children’s Literature (second review)
  • “Yolen’s simple, rhythmic text and Couch’s slightly surreal paintings, done with acrylic and colored pencil, combine to create a lovely book. The artist has a skillful eye for color, especially the jewel tones of blue in his nighttime skies, and a powerful talent for mood and character. A sports story, a flight of fancy, an exploration of the comforts of the imagination-Moonball is all of these. It’s a winner.” — School Library Journal