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Casey at the Bat Hardcover – May 7, 2002
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Gr. 2-6. There always seems to be one more version of the news that there's no joy in Mudville. The 1888 poem is given very modern dress by Neiman, who forsakes his usual gaudy palette for muscular charcoal drawings. There's a profusion of full-page and double-page-spread images of Casey and his fellow players, dramatic close-ups and poses worthy of antique Greek statuary. Neiman raises his figures to mythic level: even long shots showing the pitcher throwing to Casey from the mound achieve a hieratic quality. Christopher Bing's Caldecott Honor book, Casey at the Bat (2000), with its marvelous period images and collage effects, is about as different from Neiman's Sports-Illustrated-esque style as it could possibly be and is possibly more kid-friendly. However, Jose Torre's genial introduction, which talks about teamwork and play and passion, may draw young fans. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
LeRoy Neiman, best known for his brilliantly colored, stunningly energetic images of sporting events and leisure activities, is a long-time chronicler of contemporary lifestyles and one of the most popular living artists in America. Neiman's work is represented in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and numerous other museums and private collections. He lives in New York City.
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I haven't given it to him yet but when I do I intend to do a "dramatic reading" first. I'd totally forgotten that Casey struck out !!!!!!!!!!
The illustrations, done in charcoal, are magnificent. I doubt a 7 y.o. will respect them and perhaps should have gotten a different edition (with colored illustrations); hopefully, he'll keep this book and come to treasure the sketches as he becomes older and, maybe, one day, reads it to his son. Just lovely.
The illustrations by Leroy Neiman are wonderful. Here you see a very Mantlesque looking Casey straining every muscle to connect with that pitch and end the game with a towering blast. I also loved the fact that they are not in color. The only disturbing part is that before the final verse of the poem, you are clearly shown that Casey has missed the ball. Now we all know that Casey struck out, but you don't want to know that until the text tells you. To this day I always hope that air which is shatterd has been the result of his hitting the ball. The placement of Mr Neiman's illustrations takes that hope away. If I had been reading this to my son for the first time, he would surely have seen that the mighty Casey had failed. There would have been no need to read the last stanza. I certainly do not recommend this as a childs first introduction to this poem. The format and illustrations are wonderful, but save it for your second purchase!
This book uses one of them.
I love this poem, and I wish the author had stuck with the original.
Especially when Ernest Lawrence Thayer is listed as the author!
Also- the images of Casey and the spectators are of modern
day participants. Casey is wearing a helmet and his name and
number are on the back of his uniform. Not like a player
in 1888 at all.
Leroy Neiman is a great artist, and that is the only reason I give this