THE PINBALLS by Betsy Byars

I have just finished reading THE PINBALLS by Betsy Byars in all three of my fifth grade classes.  It is a realistic  story about three children, who each  have their own “issues”,  coming together at the same foster family.  We have all enjoyed the emotional ups and downs of watching Carlie, Thomas J., and Harvey bond into a family.

FIFTH GRADERS who have been listening to this story all fall:  write me a comment telling me your thoughts about the book…where do you think the three children will end up in ten years?  Will they be successful adults?  Will they still be “pinballs” or will they be trying to put their lives together?  Who was your favorite character, and why?  (You don’t have to answer all these questions; they are just to get your creative juices flowing!)  I will make one of Carlie’s famous mayonnaise cakes for the class with the most comments!

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58 Comments on “THE PINBALLS by Betsy Byars”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    the pinballs is a great book I love it its funny but sad my favorite character is Thomas. J Carly was also funny I think any one that likes stories of friendship should read this book.

  2. Maddox Says:

    I think that in the future, Harvey will be a writer, Carlie will be a nurse, and Thomas J. will be a teacher.
    I think that Harvey will be a writer because of his love for making lists.
    Everyone knows that Carlie will be a nurse because she has read every book in the library on nurses. She also vowed that when she becomes a nurse, she will let no one die.
    My thoughts about Thomas J. becoming a teacher may be proven wrong. I think that he will be a teacher because he was so thrilled to find that he was going to the elementary school.

  3. chandler dresser Says:

    I think that the pinballs was awsome for kids in this school and all around the world! It has dramam its sad or happy in this story for this charters. So if any one reads this comment I say to you thank you. To miss raymand bey 🙂

  4. Jarrett bean Says:

    the pinballs was a awesome book, but at the ending it didn’t show much of Harvey. For my epilogue I would put about the kids lives up ahead ten years later Carly will fulfill her life lone dreams to be a nurse, Harvey would become a author of amazing child and adult books. And Tomes J would be in collage finding his mom. Thats my ending. The book was my 2nd favorite book, my favorite book is Ruby Holler.

  5. Taylor Says:

    I really like the book. I think they will be trying to put there life together when they get older. My favorite character is Carly because she starts out mean and then she starts to get along with the others.

  6. The great question mark (?) Says:

    This is not my favorite type of book in general, but it was a great book. I liked the parts when Carley is nicer because it makes me feel good. I was slightly disappointed in the ending because we ended with Harvey still in the hospital, and we do not know very much about his current condition. I would have liked to hear slightly more about Harvey.
    I will post again,

  7. Aaron Says:

    i really like this book it’s so good. my favorite part was when carly and tomas-j got harvey a puppy and they said “cry all u want now u got your own personal towel

    • shelby Says:

      I think the three kids will end up trying to go on with there lives and this book was really outgoing and I think harvy will get his legs healed and he will not give up.


  8. Aaron Says:

    i felt bad for the pinballs (Carly Tomas-j Harvy ) because harvy had 2 broken legs, tomas-j was left on the street and carly was abused

  9. Aaron Says:

    so far this year this is the favorite book it had really descitive words you could amage some part like the dog licking Havy’s face or them sitting on the couch and writing or Carly seeing that Harvy’s legs were all red and swelded up

  10. Aaron Says:

    in the future i think that harvy’s leg are going to heal

  11. Aaron Says:

    in the future i think all of them are finish school and go their sepret ways but keep sending notes to each other and Tomas-j is going to find his parents and find out when his b-day is.

  12. Aaron Says:

    I think that carly is going to ture in to a wonderful nurse and going to have Harvy as a pashent

  13. jillian Says:

    the pinballs was a awesome it had a great leson the leson was everyone is the same orphans or not orphans this is a book for everyone around the world do read it will teach them a leson nobody should forget

  14. shawn Says:

    The pinballs is my favorite book of the year, my favorite part is when Tomas jay is walking down in a snoopie shirt.

  15. This book was one of the greatest books in 5th grade we’ve read.

    At first you fell bad for them (Carlie, Thomes J., and pore Harvey.) They get moved out of there old home and moved to a foster parent. I think I felt the werest about Harvey beacause he had 2 brocken legs. Every one changed in this book mostly Carlie…………………………………….. …………. ….. ….. …. .. … . . . . ….. ….. READ THE BOOK…

  16. matthew Says:

    the pinballs was a awesome book i think that in the future there all going to graduwait from school and get adopted all by there parents and harvy’s dad is going to get over his problem, tomas-j’s dad and mom are going to come back for him and carly is going to turn into a nurse and go with her real mom and dad

  17. caleb Says:

    this is a good book for children ilked it and in the future i think that there going to get jobs (good jobs not a trash guy)

  18. becca Says:

    This book was incredible. But really sad :[! My favorit person in the book was carly and her attitude and her favorite book about the nurse. My favorite part was when Harvy started crying when the puppy started licking his face.

  19. kaiya Says:

    i loved the pineballs it was the best book ever my fav part was when they got harveya puppy

  20. The Warrior lover/Gaelan Says:

    The pinballs was a really good book.I like the part when Tomas.J. and Carly brought the puppy into the hospital. I also liked when Tomas.J. thought he did something good. I also liked when Tomas .J. told Carly something but I can’t remember.

  21. Ellie Says:

    This was a reaaly great book about 3 kids, Carly, Harvey, and Thomas J. finding themselves and true friends. I think Havey is going to find his mother, be what he always wanted to be, a writer, and his dad will stop drinking, I think Carly will become a really great nurse with her main rule as NO DYING I think her mom will find the right person and Carly will stop being abused, and I think Thomas J. will find his parents and turn out to be ‘more normal’ and find some friends his own age and catch up in school. I think everything will turn out great!!

  22. Tanner Says:

    It was a great book, and I think that Carly is gonna be a nurse, Harvey’s gonna be a Vet since he’s always wanted a pet of some sort, Thomas J. well, I can’t think of what he might be.

    • Tanner Says:

      Well, now I’ve thought of where Thomas J. might be. I think he’ll be in school, and have a bunch of friends including Harvey and Carly.

  23. toby hi hi hi Says:

    i like the book my faveret part is when she brings the puppy to him.

  24. kyle Says:

    I thank about the book is is sad to me case Harvys dad ran his legs over.and I thank that Carly Didnot give up on Harvy.

  25. Boston Says:

    My favorite characters in the book The Pinballs are Carly and Thomas J because I thought it was really neat how Carly thought that she was going to make Harvey a Mayonnaise cake and how Carly and Thomas J thought about getting Harvey a cute little fuzzy soft puppy.

  26. Elayna Says:

    I liked the book because It was so funny cool and really Interesting I loved it. My favorite charector was Carly because in the beginning she was really mean and rude but then she started getting nicer and favorite part was when the lady in the other hospital bed said well you better hurry up and die then cause the funeral for your twin is at two and it’s 12:00. I loved this book.

  27. colton Says:

    I hope that Harvey’s legs will get better and Carley , Thomas ,Harvey will live together happely.

  28. Caroline Finley Says:

    The Pinballs was an awesome book. It is a great book about friendship and bonding. The Characters were amazing. Thomas Jay was really nice. He liked to scream when he was talking because he used to live with 2 80 year olds. So when ever he talked he had to speak very loud. Carly is such a creative girl. I was very surprised how she made her shirts and bought Harley a puppy. Harvey is a boy that has two broken legs. I am not going to tell you how he broke his leg for you readers who haven’t read the book yet. But I will tell you one thing is that it is a great book. Also if you are in 4th grade you might not want to read it because I am sure Mrs.Raymond can’t wait to read it to you.

  29. colton Says:

    I liked the book it was kinda weird when Thomas J was crawling down the road in a cloth. I also feel bad for Harvey when he got ran over by his dad and didn’t feel like living anymore.

  30. sarah Says:

    I loved pinballs it was so good it was sad in some parts but not all. I like it because it can relate to me or another story I read

  31. Abbigail Says:

    Carly is my favorite. I like how she is sorta mean in the begging but nice to Harvy and Thomas J. in the end. That is why I like the Pinballs

  32. aliah Says:

    pinballs was such a great book !

    I love the way that in the beginning of the book Carlie is not so nice and she only thinks about herself and her TV programs….
    As the book goes on she gets nicer and nicer with her actions toward Harvey and Thomas J.. In the end of the book she really shows that she cares about Harvey and not as much about TV.

    I love the way you read Mrs.Raymond.. You have a great way of expressing the emotions of the characters…
    thanks for being the # 1 librarian !!!

  33. Morgan Says:

    I think that they should make another book because itt didn’t leave us enough info at the end!!!!

  34. Erin Childs Says:

    The Pinballs were kinda weird but the best part was when it was Harvey’s B-day and Carly and Thomas J. get Harvey a puppy and Harvey knows that they are true best friends.

  35. HOCKEY LOVER Says:

    I think it was a great book, I feel sad for Harvy. Want to runnover his Dad with a Tractor or a Zambonie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. mr. pikkle Says:

    the pinballs was a great book i think it was a great told story. Mrs. raymond read it to us with such a beatufil voice she should get a student of the week.

  37. chandler dresser Says:

    I love the pinballs it was very cool. I love the part when the dog comes in the story plus thank you for geting me that world war I book so bye 🙂

  38. Shawna Says:

    i really enjoyed this book. i liked it when carly changed. i think that Carly will be a teacher, Harvey will be a writer and Tomas J will be smart. 🙂

  39. colton Says:

    the book was great it was defentliy one of my favorite books it was sad in some parts but over all it was a great book.

  40. The great exclamation(!) Says:

    I think Carly will be a nurse because she has read every book about nurses and she knows how to cheer people up and be kind. Harvey will be an author because he makes lists and enjoys writing them. Thomas J. will be a teacher because he is smart. 🙂

  41. Leah Says:

    in the future, I think Carly will be a nurse in the hospital not letting anyone die. And Harvey will be a writer because he likes to make lists. And Thomas J. will be in collage. I thank Mrs. Raymond for reading us the book. you guys should read it to. 🙂

  42. destiny Says:

    i really like carly because she is njust like me i though that it was sad because harvy’s leg was infacked really bad i like the end

  43. Kylee martin Says:

    I loved the book Pinballs I thought that it was funny when Carly said that she would run over his dads legs when she gets her car and got mad. I also thought that it sad when one of the boys had to go to the hospitable and only saw one of the Jefferson sister in stead of two that are suppose to be there. I also thought it was funny when the girl in the hospitable said you bett4er get a move on when she said that she needed to die because it was the sister dream that they would die together. I thought that the book was good and funny at some times and I love hearing your voice reading it to us love Kylee Martin

  44. Sam Says:

    Geese, a lot of people have posted comments. Well, I probably should too. Just for the heck of it. The pinballs was a pretty good book.Although it had kind of a cliffhanger end, it was still pretty good.

  45. mitch Says:

    I think that the book was very intresting and I think that Carly will be a doctor.

  46. Tyler Says:

    I like the book because it seems like carly is mean at first and she gets nicer and nicer she ends up bring harvey a puppy because he wanted one when he was living with his dad.

  47. Jan-nay Says:

    I love the Pinballs! I like they should make a second book or an epilogue.
    Thomas.J. is my favorite character <3! I think he went threw a hard time. I mean I think the Benson twins were very sweet to take him in but I think he needed a little more love.
    Harvey and Carlee are my second favorite characters. I feel so bad for Harvey because his dad ran over his legs! That is not cool for a dad to run over someones leg. And Carlee at the beginning was mean but know that she got used to Thomas.J. and Harvey she is really nice!
    At the end the last sentence that Thomas.J. said was very cute and sweet to Carlee.

  48. sonja farrington Says:

    It was a great book! And sometimes it was sad too.

    My favorite characters carlie!

  49. madison fowles Says:

    It was kind of sad when the benson twin died..

    I loved the puppy that he got! My favorite character was carlie!

  50. Ana Rossow Says:

    The Pinballs was an awesome book because it really expressed the characters emotions. My favorite caracter was Carly because ssayt are funny.

  51. Morgan Says:


  52. Morgan Says:

    :):):):):):):):):):):) love the cake!!!

  53. destiny Says:

    i really feel bad for harvy

  54. connor Says:

    great book but i feel bad for harvey

  55. Emily Says:

    I read the book The Pinballs and I think it is the best book I ever read. It’s sort of a sad story about 3 kids named Carlie, Harvey, and Thomas. J but it ends up that everything goes well. I feel bad for Harvey because his legs got run over by his own dad.But I still really think that it was a good book

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