Steven's Baseball Mitt: A Book about Being Adopted

Description

32 pages
$14.95
ISBN 1-55037-233-5
DDC jC813'.54

Publisher

Year

1992

Contributor

Illustrations by Robin Baird Lewis
Reviewed by Joan Buchanan

Joan Buchanan is a writer, storyteller and instructor and author of
Taking Care of My Cold.

Review

This book explores the mixed feelings of an adopted child—feelings
ranging from happiness and security to frustration and alienation. The
birth-mother concept is well explained. Also laudable is the fact that
Stephen’s parents are emotionally supportive and open to his pursuing
a search for his birth mother when he is older, should he wish to
(earlier children’s books on the subject tend to discourage searching
for birth parents later in life).

This reader would have preferred Stephen to have more positive and
self-affirming attitudes about himself and his situation from the
beginning. The slant taken in the book encourages the feeling that being
adopted is necessarily a problem. Stephen’s fear that his mother may
have stolen him introduces a creepy nightmare (accompanied by scary
pictures) that may be far from the experience of most adopted children.

I would also have preferred more of a story line in both the pictures
and the text. The connection between the title and the text is made
explicit only on the back cover, where the reader discovers that Stephen
is searching for “his lost baseball mitt,” which “mirror[s] his
concern about something missing in himself, or in his life.” Some of
the pictures depict Stephen searching for his mitt, but since they are
sporadic or ambiguous, the scant story line hasn’t much continuity; a
livelier, more celebratory story line may have carried the book’s
concepts more easily and enjoyably. And though Robin Lewis is an
accomplished illustrator, it is hard to identify the family members,
especially in the first few pages.

On the plus side, the book is an attempt to fill a real need for more
children’s books about adoption, and for more exploration and
discussion of adopted children’s feelings.

Citation

Stinson, Kathy., “Steven's Baseball Mitt: A Book about Being Adopted,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/24661.