he Pinballs. Betsy Byars

Harper & Row, Publishers, 1977

Synopsis: Three children, because of family problems and lack of parental care, are placed in a foster home. The children, with time and love, become more accepting of their situation and form lasting friendships in spite of their hardships.

Themes: Family Relations, Friendship, Foster Homes, Trust

Discussion Questions: Standard 3, Benchmark 3.

1. Why do you think the author chose to have three children to the Mason's house at the same time?

2. Carlie, at the beginning of the book, is not pleasant to be around. Does her attitude change by the end of the story? If so, how?

3. How might Thomas J.'s character been different if he had been found by twins who were in their 40s instead of their 90s.


1. Compare and contrast the three main characters (Carlie, Thomas J. and Harvey).  Standard 5, Benchmark 1.

2. Write an alternative ending to the story.  Standard 5, Benchmark 1.

3. Have a school counselor talk to the class about foster homes.  Standard 3, Benchmark 2.