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CASEY AT THE BAT by Ernest Lawrence Thayer Kirkus Star


A Ballad of the Republic Sung in 1888

by Ernest Lawrence Thayer & illustrated by Christopher Bing

Age Range: 8 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-929766-00-9

“The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day. . . .” But the outlook for the possibilities of digitally manipulated design in children’s books looks increasingly brilliant as evidenced by this rather amazing version of Thayer’s well-loved baseball poem, “Casey at the Bat.” In Bing’s debut, he has created a delightful oversized scrapbook version of the poem with double-page spreads making it appear to be authentic newspaper illustrations from the Mudville Monitor of June 3, 1888. Bing’s old-fashioned line drawings are done in the style of 19th-century engravings, complemented by thick, sepia-toned paper that appears to be faded at the edges. The scrapbook design continues throughout the book, with items relating to the poem (baseball tickets, medals, money, newspaper clippings, and advertisements) creatively interspersed throughout the text pages as though pasted there a century ago. The title page is set as the front page of the paper with an author’s note as newspaper column; a mock obituary on the inside back cover gives biographical information on Thayer; and an editor’s note set as a torn scrap of newspaper describes the complex computerized processes used to create the book. Teachers who want to introduce the poem to students will find all the information for an entire lesson in this one volume, including the price of a small-town paper in 1888 (two cents). A solid hit. (Poetry. 8+)