It’s Black History Month and many of our readers are looking for the next exciting biography or reference to add to their history library. Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream by talented author Crystal Hubbard may be just the book you’re looking for.
Catching the Moon is not a new title. It made its debut way back in 2005 and is probably considered “old news” in some publishing venues. But it’s new news and good news for Picture Book Depot and our Re-BookIt Department.
It is the story of Marcenia Lyle, a tomboy-extraordinaire who prefers the dust clouds that come from sliding across home base to hopscotch and jump-rope; and the sting of the baseball landing squarely in her glove to playing with dainty little paper dolls.
It’s the 1930’s and every other girl in the neighborhood is preparing to enter one of the few stilted professions available for women-of-color at that time: teacher, nurse or maid. But Marcenia is too busy breaking down barriers to settle for those professions. She’s too busy wowing the world with her extraordinary talent for baseball.
The book follows Marcenia’s progress from playground to ball camp; from playing on minor league Negro teams to the glorious day when she gets to fill Hank Aaron’s vacated position as second baseman for the Indianapolis Clowns.
Ms. Hubbard’s lively prose fairly jumps off the page and lands squarely in the reader’s face. Readers “feel” the fly balls slicing through the air and inhale the dust clouds as Marcenia slides neatly across home plate. They feel the sun baking Marcenia’s hair and the wind teasing her pigtails as she steals home from third base.
Artist Randy DuBurke’s illustrations are perfect for this book. With his warm browns, deep blues and purples, sparkling white dresses that disappear in a puff of home plate dust, and wide-eyed, hopeful expressions, he drops readers smack-dab in the middle of the adorable chaos that is Marcenia’s tom-boyish world.
History teachers, ball coaches and parents of aspiring tomboys alike will all love Crystal Hubbard’s take on the life and times of Marcenia Lyle (aka, Toni Stone), who became the first female member of an all-male pro baseball team.
Thank you Marcenia for inspiring us. And that you, Ms. Hubbard, for not letting this story fade into history.
Best wishes and happy moon-hunting,
A variation of this review can be found on The Black History Channel.