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Casey At the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888

Last updated Thursday, November 2, 2006

Author: Christopher Bing
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 1929766009
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2006

Synopsis: From School Library Journal: 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.-

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you know about the year 1888? What can you tell about it from the pictures in the book? What kinds of things do we have now that we didn?t have then? What do we have now that we did have then?
•  What did people do before they had computers? TV? Cars? Radios?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have the kids identify words they don?t know. Read them in context and let them guess the meaning. Come up with words to replace those that are confusing.
•  Find the page with money on it. How has money changed? How has it stayed the same? What is the same about the money in the picture and the money we use today? What is different?
•  How does Casey feel when he has struck out? How does the crowd feel?
•  Is it ok to strike out? How do you think Casey will do next time?
•  Who is your favorite athlete? Do they always have good games? If they have a bad day, does that make them a bad player? Do you like them any less?

Craft ideas:
•  Find the page with the different baseball cards and have a discussion about how baseball cards are similar and different now. Have the students make their own baseball cards of themselves or their favorite athletes.
•  Make a newspaper article about something important that has happened in your life, in your classroom, or at your school. Rip around the edges and crumple it up after you are done to make it look old. Include a picture and a story, and don?t forget the headline!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!