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Painting the Game

About The Book

In this middle grade novel by Newbery Award–winning author Patricia MacLachlan in her “signature lyric language delivered in spare but satisfying prose” (Booklist), a young girl tries to untangle her love of baseball from her complicated relationship with her professional pitcher father.

Lucy’s father is a minor league baseball player, a professional pitcher hoping to get called up to the majors, and Lucy inherited his passion for the game. But she’s never played pitcher. She worries her skills would be compared to her dad’s and she’d never measure up. And his pitching may mean big things for his career and their family, but it’s also what keeps him away from home so much of the year. Sometimes, Lucy isn’t sure what would be worse: being bad at pitching or being great.

Still, this summer, Lucy wants to learn to throw the perfect knuckleball. She wakes up at the crack of dawn to practice in secret, without her friends Tex and Robin—or even the goats who watch them play. Even as she trains relentlessly, Lucy wonders if she’ll ever feel brave enough to share her progress with her mom or dad. Can she prove to them, and herself, that she has what it takes?

About The Author

Photograph by John MacLachlan

Patricia MacLachlan (1938–2022) was the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb’s StoryEdward’s EyesThe True GiftWaiting for the MagicWhite Fur Flying; Fly Away; and Snow Horses. She lived in western Massachusetts.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (April 16, 2024)
  • Length: 144 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534499966
  • Ages: 8 - 12

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Raves and Reviews

"Affectionate, conflict-free relationships and myriad expressions of support and respect among the compassionate characters nudge the tale toward sentimentality, but Lucy’s gentle, understated narration and persistence toward her goal keep it grounded in authenticity."

– -Publishers Weekly, 1/22/24

"this will appeal to baseball fans and those looking for warm family dynamics."

– -Booklist, 2/15/24

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More books from this author: Patricia MacLachlan