Casey at the Bat. New York: Handprint Books.
The classic poem of Casey at the Bat: A ballad of the Republic is wonderfully illustrated in the style of an old black and white Newspaper by Bing. Color still manages to be incorporated when objects are placed upon the newspaper pages.
Bing also uses newspaper clippings and the occasional hand-written note to share informative historical tid-bits or nicknames that are outside of the original lyrics of Casey at the Bat. (Although as I teacher, I would not put too much pressure on a young student to read these notes on a first read through. The print is small, and in places, hard to discern. But as a big plus, one of the notes draws attention to the treatment of African Americans in the early leagues...Think of it as an introduction to the much longer We Are the Ship).
Without getting specific, the ending of this story may be disappointing to some. Said disappointment can encourage a discussion on moving beyond disappointments and trying hard or accepting opportunities early on, instead of waiting for the last opportunity.
Was that not vague enough? Or too vague? Confusing?
After sharing this book, kids may be inspired to create their own class newspapers. Or a teacher could bring in some old local newspapers to have students go through.
A teacher could also share other versions of the Casey at the Bat poem and encourage students to compare it across TV clips, songs and books.
This is a good recommendation for baseball fans.
Quotes of Note:
"The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play."
"They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that--
We'd put up even money now with Casey at the bat."
"And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said."
"They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again."