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Last Licks: A Spaldeen Story

by Cari Best
Illustrated by Diane Palmisciano

Published by A Melanie Kroupa Book / DK Ink, 1999
32 pages
ISBN: 0-7894-2513-0

Ages 5 - 9

Annie anxiously awaits the end of the school day so she can get out into the city streets to play ball with her friends Spit, Jay-Jay and Chickie. She's got her own lucky Spaldeen, a Sky-High Super Pinkie -- lucky because it's the only ball in the neighborhood that hasn't been confiscated by the crabby Super who has a collection of unlucky neighbor kids' Spaldeens lined up on display in his window. Everyone looks forward to playing ball on Sunday because it's the day the Super goes to visit his sister in New Jersey and the kids can play freely. At the end of a vigorous game, just as everyone's called home to supper, Annie gets in her last licks, punching the ball so high and so far that it ends up in a very surprising place, leading the story to an extremely satisfying conclusion. While the bouncy, upbeat story is sure to stir nostalgic feelings in many adult readers, the spirited oil pastel illustrations show a fully contemporary cast of characters (right down to Mom's aerobic shoes) in a modern urban setting. As an added treat, the book's endpapers include testimonials to the Spaldeen, from childhood reminiscences by people such as Sandy Koulfax, William Steig, Shari Lewis, Stephen Raleigh, and Samantha Kantor, age 8. CCBC categories: Picture Books for Older Children (KTH; Mar 1)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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