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Shakespeare Bats Cleanup Paperback – February 14, 2006

3.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-Like his earlier The Brimstone Journals (Candlewick, 2001), Koertge writes this novel in highly accessible free verse. Fourteen-year-old Kevin Boland is an MVP first baseman whose whole life revolves around baseball. Diagnosed with mono, he is forced to stay at home for months while he recuperates. Bored, Kevin borrows his father's book of poetry and starts writing his own. At first, he just has fun imitating haiku and sonnets, but he soon begins writing insightful verse, both funny and serious, in which he records his candid observations about life in junior high, romance, his dreams of baseball stardom, and his grief over the recent death of his mother. This funny and poignant novel celebrates the power of writing to help young people make sense of their lives and unlock and confront their problems. The cover will lead readers to believe that this is about baseball, but they will quickly realize there is much, much more to this finely crafted story.
Edward Sullivan, White Pine School, TN
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. Koertge has written a standout among the growing number of young adult novels told through verse. Faced with months at home because of a bout of mono, 14-year-old Kevin Boland begins to write poems, using a book from his father's collection to guide him. He writes about such things as the recent death of his mother, his love of baseball, and his make-out sessions with girls. When he recovers, he continues his writing habit and finds a new girlfriend, experimenting with different forms of poetry along the way, including free verse, haiku, sonnets, ballads, and even a sestina. Koertge does an excellent job of creating the authentic voice of a teenage boy exclusively through poems. The poems are funny, touching, and always energetic, and they show both Kevin's growing love for poetry and his struggles as a writer. Several of his attempts at difficult forms break apart in the middle, and some poems have rough edges, giving an extra dose of realism to the somewhat artificial concept of the book. Readers will find themselves identifying with Kevin and perhaps come to understand his attraction to poetry. Todd Morning
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (February 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763629391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763629397
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Although I never thought of myself as a fan of poetry or novels in verse, I have to admit this genre is growing on me.
When Kevin is forced to stay in bed for a month with mono, the prospect of missing out on baseballs games and hanging out with his friends does not excite him. But when he casually starts writing some words down on a page, and secretly borrows one of his writer father's poetry guides the exile starts to become more bearable. He slowly recovers, all the time writing about the death of his mother, past and present loves and his discovery of a whole new way of expressing himself.
If I had to describe this book in three words it would be 'short and sweet'. It's fun and cheerful (although I have to admit I didn't "get" the title until I was finished reading it).
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Format: Hardcover
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup is a funny, breezy, cute book. I don't think it relies as much on the themes of baseball, or even poetry, as it does on the theme of young love. Occasionally this theme becomes inappropriate as he writes poems about making out with girls in the bamboo forest and, in a sick metaphor, reaching Home Base.

Nevertheless, Shakespeare Bats Cleanup will cast a sort of spell over you. Well worth a read.
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Format: Paperback
14 year old Kevin Boland's life, recently devastated by the death of his mother, grinds to a complete halt with his contracting mono. Friends, school, and his starting spot on the centerpiece-of-his-life HS baseball team are all on hold. Confined to bed and home, his dad, concerned over his son's physical and mental health, suggests he keep a sort of therapeutic diary. The literary trick here is that Kevin's efforts not only be heartfelt and entertaining, but that they be written as a beginning writer-poet might create them. That author Koertge pulls off this feat with aplomb is remarkable. A love interest in the second half is a solid plus. You're really rooting for this kid. An overly strict father's cell call on a first date is hilarious. Lots of humor here and amongst all the teen and team anguish is an astute baseball novel. Mr. Koertge knows the game, lovingly so. SBC is wonderfully creative and astute. Don't miss it. Beware the white owl.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son read this book to fulfill the reading requirements for school (one poetry book per quater). He was not thrilled that he had to read a poetry book but ended up liking this one very much. Since it is written in free-verse, it reads like a story rather than a poem. My son ended up reading the follow-up on this book as well: Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs. I recommend both books for any Middle School student!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I teach a verse-novel unit in my eighth-grade class, and I'm always looking out for those which appeal especially to my young men, since not all of them are ready for Beowulf. Helping them understand that poetry is as much their purview as anyone's can be surprisingly difficult considering how much of literary culture has historically been dominated by men. This story of a teenage baseball player who gets momo and has to distance himself from his sport - and then return to it - does a good job of making poetry a form of not-unmanly expression and also introducing different types of poems, ranging from couplets to villanelles. Hearty on boyhood topics: sports, girls, parents, peers.
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Format: Paperback
This book follows the life of a kid at the age of fourteen. He is diagnosed with Mono and is but in bed for the remainder of the school year. He finds a poetry book in his Fathers collection and starts testing his own skills out. He tries Pastoral, using couplets, a sestina, and blank verse to name a few. Koertge formed his character through different kinds of poetry and I believe does and amazing job. After the first few poems you really start seeing this character come to life. I would recommend this book to any reader.
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Format: Paperback
The premise borders on the precious, and the marketing is awfully close to "eat your broccoli!", but you know what? - it works. The protagonist feels like a real kid and the development of the story, while still implausible, is just realistic and engaging enough to hold a reader's interest.

So, you have baseball, poetry, interest in girls and a narrator with some honest appeal. It's sort of like Peck or Paulson, mellow with a little shaggy dog appeal. The kind of book a kid could enjoy discovering on a shelf.
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Format: Paperback
I just ate this book up. It made me laugh so hard at parts and really just captured my interest right off the bat and continued to keep me interested. Novels in verse are starting to grow in children's literature and I am so happy that it keeps growing. Also, this is one of the rare books in verse that teaches you a bit about poetry. Kevin finds a book about different types of poetry and starts to use them in his journal and he lets you know what he's experimenting with when he is.

Definitely a book that boys and girls will both understand and enjoy.
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