Fat Maxine, by Anne Toole ISBN 9781478787761
Five out of five stars
This book shares the basic plot of the classic and very educational story “The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Andersen. Maxine is a heavy child that is made fun of by the other children. They laugh at her weight and she would much rather be someone else. Few of the other children will play with her and they consider her a liability if they are forced to play with her.
When Coach Hall selects baseball teams at school where all children are on a team, Maxine is a reluctant participant and relegated to the end of the bench with no prospect of playing. Which is the way she likes it. However, several of the players on her team are injured, so despite her protestations and the groans of her teammates, Maxine is forced to grab a bat and go to the plate.
Everyone learns that her size is not all due to fat, there is some real muscle underneath and she blasts a home run over the wall that wins the game. Suddenly, all of the other children want her to play with them as she consistently hits the ball over the wall. All aspects of her size are now forgotten and she is one of the coolest kids in the school.
The structure of the book is verse in groups of two or three sentences that rhyme. While the poetry is not that great, it is above the standards that one needs in a book for children. What is important here is the lesson for children, one that is old, but cannot be mentioned enough. For as Andersen put it, you never know what a person is capable of or will grow up to be.