Mitchell Goes Bowling

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"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  one Saturday when 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 on Saturday 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

Recommended by:  Richie  Partington, MLIS, Librarian, California USA See more:  Richie's Picks _http://richiespicks.com_ (http://richiespicks.com/)

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