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Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story



by
Emily Arnold McCully

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Macmillan
Imprint
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN
9780374300074

Awards and Honors
Top 10 Books for Youth 2015, Sports
2016 Amelia Bloomer List, Early Readers–Nonfiction
2016 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, K–2
2016 CCBC Choices–Historical People, Places, and Events
Children’s Book Committee Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of 2016, Biography and Memoir
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In 1900, baseball was not a game for girls. But then there was Lizzie Murphy. “Even at six years old, Lizzie threw straight to [her brother’s] glove.” In 1918, she began playing professional ball. Author’s note. Sources. Photograph of Lizzie Murphy. Full-color illustrations.

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None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

32

Trim Size

9" x 10 1/2"

Dewey

796.357092 B

AR

3.4: points 0.5

Lexile

580L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

2

JLG Release

Apr 2015

Book Genres


Topics

Lizzie Murphy (1894-1964). U.S. baseball players. Biography. Pictorial works of baseball players. Women baseball players. Biography and autobiography. Women athletes.

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

McCully takes a brief look at the career of Lizzie Murphy, the first woman to play in a major-league exhibition game and the first person to play on the New England and American leagues’ all-star teams. This story begins in 1900 in Warren, RI, when Murphy’s father, who played amateur baseball, declared her a natural at age six. Murphy played catch with her brother, Henry, who was on a local team, but she wanted to play first base. Though her mother voiced the prevailing sentiment of the day (“‘It’s not a game for girls’”), Murphy persevered and convinced the captain of her brother’s team to let her play when she was eight. Life was not easy in the 1900s, and by age 12, the girl was working in the mills, but she was still athletic, swimming, running, and playing ice hockey. By age 15, she was a regular on two amateur teams, and at 18, she had a contract. When the manager tried to cheat her out of her pay, Murphy’s cleverness and determination took over; she was never short-changed again and played professional ball for the next 17 years. Realistic drawings in acrylic ink reflect the attire of the times, particularly Murphy in her feminine dresses. The scenes that show her being shunned and then gradually accepted by the boys are particularly well done. The dialogue-heavy narrative and subject matter will easily appeal to readers. McCully’s book is both a good all-round baseball story and an inspirational story about believing in oneself and overcoming opposition. An excellent choice.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA

Horn Book

Using the classic struggle between the underdog and the powerful, McCully introduces Lizzie Murphy, who, at the beginning of the twentieth century, parlays her love for baseball into a successful career. Lizzie’s childhood and teen years take center field: she demonstrates her early skills in throwing, catching, and hitting; her love of the game; and a dogged persistence that leads to playing on two amateur boys’ teams. At age eighteen, she seizes an opportunity to play professional ball, where she draws big crowds more because of her gender than her considerable skill. Still, Murphy is denied a salary until she fights for equal pay, going toe-to-toe with the team’s manager. Impressionistic ink and watercolor illustrations subtly depict Lizzie as slightly different from the crowd: her patterned dresses blend with the boys’ outfits but are nonetheless distinctive; her posture is less slouchy than that of the men on the professional teams. McCully shows readers that even though Lizzie loves baseball, she has other pursuits as well; she works in a mill, plays the violin, and participates in both ice hockey and competitive swimming. But recognizing her passion and finding a way to make it her life’s work is Murphy’s gift and the heart of McCully’s story. Appended with a bibliography and an author’s note that tells more about Murphy’s career. betty carter

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

McCully takes a brief look at the career of Lizzie Murphy, the first woman to play in a major-league exhibition game and the first person to play on the New England and American leagues’ all-star teams. This story begins in 1900 in Warren, RI, when Murphy’s father, who played amateur baseball, declared her a natural at age six. Murphy played catch with her brother, Henry, who was on a local team, but she wanted to play first base. Though her mother voiced the prevailing sentiment of the day (“‘It’s not a game for girls’”), Murphy persevered and convinced the captain of her brother’s team to let her play when she was eight. Life was not easy in the 1900s, and by age 12, the girl was working in the mills, but she was still athletic, swimming, running, and playing ice hockey. By age 15, she was a regular on two amateur teams, and at 18, she had a contract. When the manager tried to cheat her out of her pay, Murphy’s cleverness and determination took over; she was never short-changed again and played professional ball for the next 17 years. Realistic drawings in acrylic ink reflect the attire of the times, particularly Murphy in her feminine dresses. The scenes that show her being shunned and then gradually accepted by the boys are particularly well done. The dialogue-heavy narrative and subject matter will easily appeal to readers. McCully’s book is both a good all-round baseball story and an inspirational story about believing in oneself and overcoming opposition. An excellent choice.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA

Horn Book

Using the classic struggle between the underdog and the powerful, McCully introduces Lizzie Murphy, who, at the beginning of the twentieth century, parlays her love for baseball into a successful career. Lizzie’s childhood and teen years take center field: she demonstrates her early skills in throwing, catching, and hitting; her love of the game; and a dogged persistence that leads to playing on two amateur boys’ teams. At age eighteen, she seizes an opportunity to play professional ball, where she draws big crowds more because of her gender than her considerable skill. Still, Murphy is denied a salary until she fights for equal pay, going toe-to-toe with the team’s manager. Impressionistic ink and watercolor illustrations subtly depict Lizzie as slightly different from the crowd: her patterned dresses blend with the boys’ outfits but are nonetheless distinctive; her posture is less slouchy than that of the men on the professional teams. McCully shows readers that even though Lizzie loves baseball, she has other pursuits as well; she works in a mill, plays the violin, and participates in both ice hockey and competitive swimming. But recognizing her passion and finding a way to make it her life’s work is Murphy’s gift and the heart of McCully’s story. Appended with a bibliography and an author’s note that tells more about Murphy’s career. betty carter

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