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Shakespeare Bats Cleanup Paperback – February 14, 2006
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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 the Library Binding edition.
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 the Library Binding edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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).
Nevertheless, Shakespeare Bats Cleanup will cast a sort of spell over you. Well worth a read.
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.
Definitely a book that boys and girls will both understand and enjoy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Totally inappropriate for middle schoolers. Topics are not suitable for pre-teen maturing kids. Inappropriate topics are glorified.