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Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888 Hardcover – March 1, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Adorning this classic sports epic, Moser's characteristically expressive paintings were modeled on historical photographs and drawings of former baseball greats. All ages.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the School & Library Binding edition.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 5-Payne's caricatures, rendered in a mix of acrylics, watercolor, ink, oils, and colored pencils, are a marvel of texture and personality. Casey himself is the picture of pride-massive upper body, toothpick ankles, rosy cheeks, enormous sideburns, and a handlebar mustache. He's the essence of nonchalance as he steps up to the plate, acknowledging his adoring fans. Payne alternates panoramic spreads with single scenes facing a white page comprised of a stanza and visual detail. At the climax, an extreme close-up of "mighty Casey," smoke coming out of his ears and gums glistening, is followed by a two-page cyclone of empty air consuming the batter. Notes about Thayer and the poem complete the offering. Christopher Bing's version (Handprint, 2000), with its scrapbook setting, provides an elegant window to a distant event. Patricia Polacco's Casey at the Bat (PaperStar, 1997), with its youthful framing story, creates sympathy for and accessibility to a sandlot tragedy. Payne's version brings its own flavor to the classic poem. While the staging details evoke the past effectively, the humor and drama elicit immediate interest. Make room in your lineup for this one.
Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689854943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689854941
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #480,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Thayer's classic ballad, `Casey at the Bat,' is greatly enhanced by Patricia Polacco's brilliantly achieved, big-hearted illustrations. Ms. Polacco captures emotion, action, and character through wittily exaggerated, slightly loopy pictures, and through lots of uncrowded background shenanigans. It's very cinematic: She effectively isolates action through extreme close-ups, and extends time through a montage of events occurring within a single picture. Like the auteur she is, she even adds some opening and closing story elements (while leaving the poem intact) that augment the poem's appeal to the younger reader.
This book is simply great fun to read aloud; you'll find yourself wanting to memorize its evocative imagery and epic aspirations:
"Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt; Five thousand tongue applauded when he wiped them on his shirt. Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip, Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip."
You and your youngsters will love the humor and the drama in this a classic rendition of Thayer's beloved poem. Infants and toddlers will enjoy the bright pictures, and all readers will appreciate the perfect teaming of Thayer and Polacco.
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Format: Paperback
This is a beautifully illustrated version of this 1888 classic ballad about baseball. The beautiful watercolor illustrations for this centennial edition were rendered from historic photographs and drawings from the archives of the National Baseball Library in Cooperstown, New York. Finally, an illustrated versions whose pictures match the beauty of the language of this timeless ballad. Young and old, lovers of baseball and language will all cherish this book.
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Format: Library Binding
NOTE: This review is on the Raintree Childrens Books 1985 Edition. Amazon, bless their hearts, has mixed up their Casey books and mixed all kinds of different reviews of different versions of this book. There is a very big difference you know!

This particular edition and rendition of the poem Casey at the Bat, first published in 1888 by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, has been illustrated by KEN BACHAUS. It is probably one of the finest versions of this poem or ballad in print. Most reading this review are probably quite familiar with the story as told in the poem, so needless to say, it is about as an American of a poem as you can get. It is one of those that have been memorized by school children for several generations now. Movies and cartoons have been made of it and the poem has been published in uncountable anthologies, as well as stands a lone works.

What makes this work so unique is the art work by Ken Bachaus. The artist has captured the mood of the poem perfectly. Facial expressions of players are an absolute delight as is the body language and background settings. Vivid watercolor like paintings fit the words to the text perfectly. Bachaus' use of his brush to show motion is quite unique and perfectly executed. (this technique is actually quite difficult to pull off and the artist has mastered it). Details of uniforms, skin texture, equipment and, well, dirt, is rather amazing.

I cannot think of a better version of this beloved story to read to the young ones. Not only do they get the words of a wonderful, truly American poem, but they are exposed to some wonderful art work at the same time.

If you purchase this work, be sure you check it out closely as there seems to be a terrible mix up here.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read in other reviews that the illustrations make this story come alive. I was excited about that, and wanted to read it to my kids on Kindle. I downloaded it, and it is literally 5 pages of text and no pictures. So this is an instance where the Kindle version is very inferior to the printed book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An absolute joy to read.
This poem is a poem that in my opinion you can truly love and appreciate without being a baseball fan.
The descriptive style in which it was written makes you feel as if you were there.
A very good and enjoyable piece of literature.
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Format: Library Binding
One of many titles in the popular Raintree Stories series of classic tales, both fiction and nonfiction, from around the world, "Casey at the Bat" also appears in many anthologies of children's literature. This well-traveled 116-line poem is about a baseball team, the Mudville Nine, on the verge of losing a game, and an overweening batter -- their star -- who refuses to swing at the first two pitches, both strikes. On the third pitch he digs in, looks fierce, and, much to everyone's surprise, including his own, swings and misses.

The Baseball Almanac calls the piece "a baseball poem so well-written that it is simply classic poetry." But the poem is not just about baseball; it is part of baseball history. Ernest Thayer initially published the poem anonymously, because he considered it doggerel, a throwaway set of lines. But as time passed and it grew in popularity, more and more people claimed to have written it, and so he "came out" as the author, so to speak. The poem's subtitle, "A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888," is rarely included with it, but indicates the mock seriousness of the work. Despite the technological changes of the past 120 years, the Mudville Nine's situation is sweetly familiar. Anyone attending a baseball game in a stadium today could identify with the hyped-up crowd in the poem. And as for gifted but arrogant players? Plenty of those still around.

The text is illustrated by Ken Bachus with sharp attention to the clothing and facial hair typical of the late 1880s. His ink drawings are detailed and accurate, from the players' uniforms and floppy baseball gloves to their drooping moustaches.
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