Basketball Belles

How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women's Hoops on the Map
Gr 2—5—In 1896, female athletes faced two foes: their on-court rivals, and the rigid code of ladylike behavior. In this engaging picture book, Macy recounts the first basketball game played between two women's college teams through the eyes of a participant, Stanford's Agnes Morley. High-spirited Agnes grew up on a New Mexico cattle ranch, where "getting dirty came with the territory." Since it was considered not "proper for women to perspire in front of men" by the UC Berkeley team, the game took place before an all-female crowd. In a comedic intermission, two male workers came out to repair a basket; in Laurel and Hardy-like fashion, one stared so much, he almost knocked the other off a ladder. Playing guard, Agnes wondered how she could prevent her taller opponents from scoring and found herself in an intense struggle. With the players confined to rigid sections of the court, the game hinged on the outcome of two foul shots. Collins's colorful, exuberant digital illustrations capture all the high-spirited drama and fun. Macy adds authenticity with a fact-filled author's note. This excellent book offers plenty of teaching possibilities, and it should delight a wide audience.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Macy recounts the first women's intercollegiate basketball game, played in 1896, through the eyes (and invented dialogue) of Stanford guard Agnes Morley. After an exciting game, Agnes concludes that "a lady can be tough and strong as well as refined and polite," a view confirmed by the rough-and-tumble illustrations done in a rather sedate palette. An author's note is appended. Reading list, timeline.

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