"Just keep your eye on the ball, Barney boy." -- Fred Flintstone, on his way to converting a 7-10 split "More than 20,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year from injuries suffered at bowling alleys, according to the U.S. Product Safety Commission. "Injuries range from frequent bowlers suffering tissue damage to kids getting smashed by the heavy ball. "Here's a common sight at the local alley: The bowler is talking away with someone but has a hand down to catch the ball coming back on the automatic ball return. Paying no attention, eyes elsewhere, the bowler fails to see the ball pop up. "'Happens all the time,' said Virginia Norton, a former Brunswick Corp. consultant and widely known as one of the area's premier bowling instructors. 'I've seen smashed fingers, broken fingers, broken wrists, just from people not paying attention. "But smashed faces? Oh yes, she says: "Mostly kids. They put their face right into the return; they're so eager to see their ball come back." -- Jerry Hicks, LA Times, "Bowling Can Do a Number on Your Body" "Mitchell ALWAYS knocked things down. That's just how he rolled. He even tried to knock down his dad... (SLAM!) "But onewhen Mitchell was doing his thing, his dad caught him and put him in the car. "Mitchell didn't know where they were going, but when they got there, he felt right at home. "There were lots of brightly colored balls, a good pizza smell, and giant crashing noises." Uh-oh! I just got a dozen pages into this story, and there's Mitchell with his face right down in the ball return! Fortunately, he has good reflexes and dives out of the way (into Dad's arms) when the ball pops out at him. But Mitchell suffers a growing frustration because his dad has the bowling thing down -- scoring strike after strike (X after X on the scoring screen) -- while Mitchell is doing his best to avoid gutter balls, and is struggling to knock down more than two or three pins at a time. (This, after his acrobatics send the neighboring bowlers scurrying for a new lane elsewhere.) Fortunately, Dad recognizes that having himself and Mitchell be bowling partners (on the same team) will ease the frustration and make for a more positively memorable experience. Bowling can, indeed, be a fun social activity. Growing up on Long Island, there were bowling alleys everywhere. I have lots of long-ago memories of bowling with my family and our Sicilian relatives, of bowling with my friends afternoons, bowling with high school girlfriends, and lots of experience watching "real" bowlers with their smooth moves and precision. (One of the funnest convention-related publisher parties I've ever attended involved a bowling alley, a bunch of friends -- which, I recall, included Candy and Eric and Yuyi -- and some great refreshments.) MITCHELL GOES BOWLING is a great introduction to bowling for kids who have never had the opportunity to rent a pair of funny-colored two-tone shoes and send a heavy ball rolling down a lane. But just keep your face out of that ball return!
40 pages Ages 4-8 978-0-7636-6049-9