Aunt Gracie’s Mistake

Softball Practice coverSoftball Practice

Submitter: My daughter chose this on our last trip to our local public library.

The summary from Scholastic: “Aunt Gracie drives Jan and friend Sam to the park for softball practice. As she drives off, Jan and Sam wait for the other team members to arrive. But Jan starts to get worried and realizes that her Aunt Gracie left them at the wrong park. Sam has a great idea to pass the time by practicing softball. And while they’re having fun, Sam’s mom, Jan’s dad and Aunt Gracie all arrive. And they end up having a great softball practice anyway!”

Basically, this aunt drops two six-year-olds at an empty park and leaves. They realize the mistake and decide to play catch while they wait for some responsible adults to show up. Then, here come mom and dad and auntie, and they all shrug and say, “Oopsie! Sorry for abandoning you for the last hour!” The end.

Holly: I guess in some parts of the country it’s plausible… In other parts of the country, the six-year-olds would have cell phones and call Aunt Gracie immediately. While they waited, the six-year-olds would tweet: “Abandoned at empty park. Send juiceboxes. #FML” Aunt Gracie and the parents would then have a visit from Child Protective Services. #TheEnd


  1. The part about CPS is kind of a sad commentary on today’s society. “Two kids playing by themselves in a safe area? Call the cops!”

    1. The book was published in 2007, however–you’d think they’d have a clue about modern sensibilities!

    2. Only thing is it’s not a safe world anymore – several years ago we had a pedophile try to solicit a little girl at the circulation desk in front of the head clerk at the time. He was already wanted for cornering a little girl in a dressing room and another in Barnes & Noble in the children’s book section showing them pictures of himself raping other little girls.

      And that’s just one incident. We’re not close to a park otherwise we’d probably have more. (We have over 600 “sober” living homes in my town and when people can’t pay rent they get thrown out into the streets instead of sent back to their home state. So crime is increasing around here. Kids can’t even go to the parks anymore cause that’s where the addicts all congregate.)

      You just can’t let kids be alone. Not unless you’ve had them trained in martial arts since they were toddlers and armed with pepper spray.

      1. It’s not a less safe world. Things like that just don’t get swept under the rug or whispered about in backrooms. Those people still existed, it just wasn’t talked about. There was probably at least one of those creepy types in every town.

  2. Sad. Probably in a small town in the 50’s or 60’s this would have been possible. Probably when this author was a child.
    It’s a little hard to believe this was published in 2007.

  3. It depends on the neighborhood the ballpark is in. There are some that you definitely wouldn’t want children playing alone in. Evidently their aunt knows the OK ones.

  4. Re: unsafe world: human behavior has not changed radically in the last 50 years, but the news cycle has. Before there was a 24 hour news cycle, the same dangers existed, and people somehow knew many places and people that should be avoided. Adults made sure kids knew about them, and, witness the books about kids “knowing” that so-and-so is a witch or monster, helped kids understand who the folks were who were just different–old, sick, whatever. I suspect public librarians have known who to keep an eye on in their libraries for some time now, even in the 50s and 60s. For me this overprotection of children does not take into consideration that kids can be taught what to do to help themselves; I prefer to teach kids to swim rather than to forbid them ever going into water. This way they can learn to take care of themselves for the future, when they grow up and are on their own.

  5. There’s nothing worse than helicopter parents. As a kid, I treasured my freedom and independence and not having adults watching me every second of my life. As an Aspie, I didn’t even like other kids constantly around me. That was back in the 80’s, when the term “latchkey kid” became common. Except my parents didn’t lock the door. Gotta love Canada. 🙂

    1. Agreed. When I was a kid, my parents had their *OWN* lives. They were glad to have us out of the house and out of their hair part of the day. We could do what we wanted (of course, in those days there were lots of eyes on what was happening in the neighborhood, so if we did the wrong things, our parents heard about it). When we went to the local school, we got ourselves there and back. When school was farther away, we got ourselves to the bus stop — no parental involvement needed unless we stayed late for rehearsals or sports, and then we’d get a ride.

Comments are closed.