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Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888 (Caldecott Honor Book) Hardcover – October 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

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.


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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Preschool - 7
  • Series: Caldecott Honor Book
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1 edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929766009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929766000
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.4 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Scotty on January 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I've been collecting children's picture books for over 25 years and it's been a long time since I've had a book surprise and delight me as much as this title. The creativity with which Christopher Bing has blended his own terrific etched illustrations with the memorabilia and fictional news clippings is highly imaginative and will pull you through the book. In many ways the poem/ballad of "Casey at the Bat" becomes a secondary theme yet it skillfully holds the entrie composition together. After "reading" the book for the first time, I realized I hadn't even read the poem/ballad!! There are many subtle, underlying stories hidden in the pages. The clipping which tells the history behind the racism and eventual segregation of black ballplayers lies next to an illustration where the catcher is clearly African American. This books is a real treat. If you love baseball, children's books, history or just great creative expression through art, this book will give you hours of joy and discovery.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Christopher Bing has reconceptualized "Casey at the Bat" from being a poem that appeared in the June 3, 1888 edition of the San Francisco Examiner into an imaginary news story with drawings and artifacts in "The Mudville Sunday Monitor" of the same date. In that reframing, the classic poem takes on a greater life and significance for fans of the poem.
Each page in this brief book resembles the yellowed file copies of that old newspaper, with historic artifacts strewn across its pages. You will see tickets to the game, money, confetti, articles of that time, advertisements, a baseball, a baseball card, and the Library of Congress catalog card for "Casey at the Bat." Even the acknowledgments are put into this format.
But this would all be but window-dressing if it were not such a powerful poem that has captured the imaginations of baseball fans for generations.
"The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine . . . ."
"The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play."
Everyone hopes that Casey will get to bat, but that's unlikely. But a miracle happens.
"For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat."
Then comes the most famous and exciting at-bat in fictional baseball history.
Alas, like the Red Sox since Babe Ruth left for New York, the end is disappointment for the fans.
This book will make a wonderful gift for the baseball fan who has everything.
After you finish oohing and aahing over the great illustrations and reliving your pleasure in the poem, I suggest that you reflect over the famous at-bats that have occurred in real baseball games. Which one is your favorite?
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By X. Libris on May 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Our elementary school library currently has three versions of the classic baseball poem, "Casey at the Bat," by three different illustrators. This one was added because of its well-deserved status as a Caldecott Honor book (for illustrations).
Since I usually make an annual Spring tradition of reading "Casey" to some classes, I can tell you that this edition by Christopher Bing works very nicely for group read-alouds. However in this setting kids miss out on the many interesting--but smaller--details that Bing has added to each page, such as a faded newspaper clipping about "the barbaric practice of using only a single ball throughout the nine innings of play..." Students are also drawn to the 1880s currency--bills and coins--shown on the page that says, "We'd put up even money now with Casey at the bat."
Christopher Bing has created a mini-museum display that many children will devour like an "I Spy" book, particularly if they are baseball fans or history buffs.
If you are not familiar with this wonderful poem, I'd put it in the same "classic" status as "The Night Before Christmas," by Clement C. Moore; "Paul Revere's Ride," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; or "The Cremation of Sam McGee," by Robert Service.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on October 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful rendition of one of my favorite (and many others) poems! Not only do I like this book my self (I actually own the thing), but I have found it to be very useful in school and in teaching young grandsons. The author has taken the classic poem of Casey at the Bat and turned it into a piece of art and a history lesson all in one. He has used old newspaper clippings of the late 1800s as a back ground to his wonderful illustrations. A close look at these clippings reveal that they enhance and go along with the story quite well. Not only do the kids (I use this for 3rd graders through 6th graders) get to hear, as I read the book to them, one of our classic "fun poems" but they get a great history lesson as we discuss the context of the story with the newspaper background. It is rather amazing, upon close examination, just how much extras information the author has packed into this book. Now I realize that this is classified as a juvenal book, which I think is a real shame as it will possible divert the attention of older baseball fans and they will miss out on quite a lot. That is a pity. This book is actually quite suitable for a baseball fan of any age. I know I treasure my copy at well over sixty years old...of course I must admit to still having a lot of little boy in me, still. Highly recommend this one.
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