From Publishers Weekly
Debut children's book illustrator Bing hits a home run with this handsome faux-scrapbook treatment of Thayer's immortal poem. The original verses about baseball star Casey and the ill-fated Mudville nine appeared in the San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888, and Bing captures the spirit of the age with pen-and-ink illustrations that look like carefully preserved newspaper clippings, complete with slightly torn and yellowed edges. He uses cross-hatching and careful shading to create the pages of The Mudville Sunday Monitor, which keenly resemble the newspaper engravings of the day. Columns of type (in historically accurate printers' fonts, as an afterword points out) run beneath each illustration to bolster the conceit. Bing also scatters other "scrapbook" items throughout, from game tickets (a bargain at 20 cents) to old-fashioned baseball cards and stereopticon imagesDmany of them carefully keyed to the text. Full-color currency, for instance, accompanies "They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at thatD/ We'd put up even money now with Casey at the bat," while an ad for Brown's Bronchial Troches appears with the couplet "Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;/ It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell." Endpapers reveal more items to delight baseball fans and history buffs, from Thayer's newspaper obituary to a fake bookplate wreathed with baseball motifs. Though Casey and the Mudville nine strike out in the end, this exceptionally clever picture book is definitely a winner. All ages. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up-Thayer's classic poem of the 19th-century baseball legend has been revived for a new generation in this creatively designed package. From the first look at the cover, produced to resemble a vintage scrapbook, through the interior views of pages from the "Mudville Monitor," Bing has orchestrated every detail to great effect. Each double spread, rendered in ink and brush on scratchboard, is a scene from the poem. The multitude of lines adds energy; the multiple perspectives create interest. Overlaid on this tattered "newsprint" is baseball memorabilia (cards, tickets, medallions, postcards), as well as cleverly fabricated ads or editorials that relate to the moment. The book will be enjoyed by intergenerational partners who can pore over the pages and point things out to one another. It would be a gold mine for teachers seeking inspiration for period projects.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.