Casey At The Bat

by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

Hardcover, 2001



Local notes

811 Tha



Scholastic, 2001 (2001), Edition: 1st


A narrative poem about a celebrated baseball player who strikes out at the crucial moment of a game.


Original publication date


Physical description

12.1 inches


0439331684 / 9780439331685



Media reviews

Bill Ott (Booklist, Feb. 15, 2001 (Vol. 97, No. 12)) First-time children's book illustrator Bing's take on Casey at the Bat represents, above all, a stunning example of contemporary bookmaking in which the most sophisticated electronic techniques have been used to re-create the past. The text is presented as a "newly discovered," 100-year-old scrapbook into which newspaper articles, including Thayer's poem and other memorabilia, have been pasted, recording not only the events of the day--Casey's ninth-inning strikeout and the Mudville nine's four-to-two defeat--but also a broader view of the baseball world in 1888. The poem is illustrated in two-page spreads in which Bing's scratchboard drawings effectively capture the look of engravings used in newspapers of the period. Imposed over the drawings are fictional clippings that amplify issues suggested in the text (on the spread where Jimmy Blake "tears the cover off the ball," an editorial decries the practice of using only one ball throughout a game). Elsewhere, the illustrations depict a black player, and the clipping concerns the soon-to-be-instituted color line. (As with all the fictional clippings, this reference to baseball before the color line is historically accurate.) There is a phenomenal amount of information on baseball history compacted into this fascinating format, and the juxtaposition of memorabilia to text is unfailingly, even exhaustingly, clever (a newspaper ad for "bronchial troches" to cure hoarseness appears alongside the lines "Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell"). As with so many recent tour-de-force picture books, however, questions linger about the audience. For all its brilliance and bravura, this is a far less kid-friendly Casey than Gerald Fitzgerald's 1995 version. Adults, of course, will marvel at the bookmaking and relish the arcane information, but they may meet a fate similar to Casey's when they try to pass on their enthusiasm to their young children. Category: Books for the Young--Nonfiction. 2000, Handprint, $17.95. Ages 5-8.

User reviews

LibraryThing member NancyStorm
Grew up with this poem as baseball was a huge part of our family. My uncle managed the Portland Beavers and my best friend was the pitcher of the State champions in Little League. Great poem that slowly builds the typical setting of a baseball game, with all the trimmings, into the crescendo of the critical inning where the reader feels like he is at home plate, swinging the bat at the winning pitch. Great epic poem that will last the ages.… (more)
LibraryThing member artlibby
The timelessness of baseball is evidenced in this repackaging of a poem first published in 1889. Baseball fans will delight in the aspects of the game that have changed, which Bing craftily interweaves through newspaper clippings. The illustrator presents the poem against a pseudo-newspaper backdrop that appears convincingly real. Although the artifacts were created by the author, he claims to have made every attempt to accurately reflect the issues of 1889. The yellowed newspaper and black "ink" make up the monotone color combination that recreates a 19th Century newspaper landscape. All the details included in the book beg for second and third readings. Readers can decide to read only the poem, or to read all of the historical extras as well! Recommended for elementary school libraries.… (more)
LibraryThing member kthomp25
What I found interesting about this book were the references to baseball history. There was a time when everyone played barehande(the illustrations show some players with gloves, some without; 1894 was the last enforced barehanded play, there was a time when no fence separated the fans from the field and spectators could interfere with play, there was an unspoken Gentleman's agreement that no black or darks-skinned players were allowed; that ended in 1947. But in the 1880s blacks were playing although the book (in the newspaper editorials on the illustrations makes reference to some grumbling and ostracization occuring). Very informative on a deeper layer than just the text.… (more)
LibraryThing member MrsLee
The well known ballad, highlighted by great illustrations of baseball back in the day.
LibraryThing member adge73
Nice. I don't love the art, but it works.
LibraryThing member mlsweatman
This book is a good book illustrated by Patricia Polaco. The book is about a liitle league star named Casey that is really good at baseball. I feel the moral of the story is to tell children "not to count their chickens before they hatch." At the end of the book Casey strikes out and his team losses the game. I am planning on reading this as a read aloud at some point in this semester.… (more)
LibraryThing member Junep
Gr 3 Up-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… (more)
LibraryThing member Warnerp
Such an artistic rendition of the classic poem! No wonder it was a Caldecott Honor Book!
LibraryThing member jeffbarrois
This is the classic story of Casey, the hero, coming up to save the Mudville team and win the baseball game. The art in this book is very good and creates a real sense of scale and urgency.
LibraryThing member Ashleyreece
This book is about a baseball team that is two points down with two outs and are in the bottom of the last inning. The next two at bats get on base and now it is Casey’s turn. Everyone likes Casey and they just know he will hit the winning run. In the end Casey strikes out and his team loses.
Personal Reaction:
I like this book. As an avid softball player/ fanatic this book speaks to me. I have been in the same situation many times.
Extension 1:
I would use this in a lesson on sportsmanship.
Extension 2:
I would have the class talk about a situation that didn’t turn out quite how they had planned for it to.
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LibraryThing member RonKaplanNJ
Many of the contributors for Smith's collection doubtlessly can quote verbatim the timeless poem, CASEY AT THE BAT. Since its debut over 100 years ago, dozens of versions have been published, either continuations of the legend of Casey ("Casey's Daughter," "Casey's Revenge"), or parodies following the same fashion and general meter.

One of the most renown artists of our generation, LeRoy Neiman, has lent his unique style to illustrate the words of Ernest Lawrence Thayer. Joe Torre, manager of the New York Yankees, offers his thoughts of the importance of this classic in the book's introduction.

Most illustrators put the brawny batter in turn of the 20th century attire, with high collars and pillbox style caps worn at the time. Neiman, however, takes a rather unconventional step, depicting the mighty Casey as a modern-day player, perhaps with a nod to younger readers. Some might consider such a view as heretical, preferring that comforting illusion of baseball played in a simpler, more rustic time. Nevertheless, no one can argue with Neiman when it comes to expressing the dynamic imagery of sports.
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LibraryThing member elizabethholloway
This classic ballad still speaks to children. It engages them with the subject (baseball), tense conflict (Casey will win or lose the game), and memorable rhyme. It has been years since I heard this ballad, and I had forgotten how the narrative builds tension with the audience reaction at each step and the two men at bat. What I did remember that still resonates from when I first heard "Casey" as a child are the last lines and the imagery of the happy people somewhere else.

On top of what is already great text is an inspired presentation by Christopher Bing. The illustrations are reminiscent of newspapers at from 1888. The text is in newsprint and the illustrations resemble those one might see in the newspapers of that time. Moreover, in the illustrations there is memorabilia that appears to be pasted on top--newspaper clippings, baseball cards, money. The clippings are particularly inspired: they provide additional context for the poem. For example, when two players are referred to as "lulu" and "cake" there is a clipping that tells us that with the advent of baseball gloves, players who chose to use them were considered wimpy and called such names. This book will engage readers at many levels. It would be appropriate for kindergarten to grade 5.
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LibraryThing member KatiePriddle
This is the classic poem about a baseball game. It is in the very last moments of the game and Casey is the last chance for a win. Everybody thinks he is going to get a home run. He believes he is going to win the game as well. He shocks everyone, including himself by instead striking out.

Personal Reaction:
From a young age I enjoyed this poem. Bing really brings it to life with his illustrations. The pictures are a replica of newspaper clippings from that time. This is a really interesting way to portray the story. I can see why it is a Caldecott honor.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. This could introduce a Social Studies unit over America, and the importance of baseball. We would discuss why baseball was created and how it is our ‘national pastime’.

2. I would have the students discuss in class a time when they were disappointed by the outcome of a situation. Next, they would talk with a partner about how they coped with that event.
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LibraryThing member patrick.brautigan
Summary: A poem about a baseball game. As his team is on the verge of loosing Casey comes to bat and he is the teams last chance for a win. Everybody is absolutely sure that he is going to get a home run and win the game. Even Casey himself believes that he is going to wn the game, but in the end Casey strikes out and his team looses.

Personal Review: A great story one that i loved as a kid and it is amazing that this is still around so i can share this story with my kids. Great illistrations and the newspaper format to the book makes this a great and easy read aloud book.

Claswoom Extensions: Can be used to show that even the hero has his off days, even a hero doesnt win all the time every time. Can be used to teach about base ball and sportsmans like conduct.
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LibraryThing member elpowers
Very interesting-old-timey pencil sketches. A nice book for a read aloud with a historical feel.
LibraryThing member elizabethhart
Casey at the Bat is a comedic ballad written about an overconfident baseball player in the fictional town of Mudville. The poem reveals the fans’ belief that if Casey could just get up to bat, they could win the game. Losing by two runs with two outs, Casey gets up to bat after teammates before him hit a single and a double. However, his overconfident attitude causes him to strike out and the team loses the game. The poem references baseball as it was in the late 1800s and the appeal of the sport that is still relevant today. As one of the few children’s books I have read that ends sadly, I found the book to be a refreshing reminder that everyone should be humble in the face of success and challenge. I also believe the book is a wonderful representation of rhyme in literature – “Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped – ‘That ain’t my style,’ said Casey. ‘Strike one,’ the umpire said.”… (more)
LibraryThing member lmhudson
I thought this book was really cute and fun. I believe that it would be a great read aloud book for children. I thought how it was written in rhymes that made it easy and fun. The illustrations were funny and went great along side the words.
LibraryThing member LauraMcQueen
Casey at the Bat is an old story that has been around since the late 1800's. It is the story of a boy who has the chance to win the ball game for his team, but lets his ego get in the way. I think this would be a great story to share with my students. Not only do I like it because I love baseball but it also has so many great ideas behind it. The book shows that you cannot let your ego get to big, if you do it will only hold you back. It also is a story about being a good loser. Children (and some adults) need to learn this because it is something they will have to deal with their entire lives. Finally it has to do with family, and not expecting them to be on your side if it is not the right thing to do. I love this story and it will always be one of my favorites.… (more)
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Casey at the Bat, illustrated and expanded by Patricia Polacco

First published in 1888, in The San Francisco Examiner, Ernest Thayer's famous baseball poem, in which an overconfident batsman strikes out, bringing disappointment and defeat to the Mudville team, has been expanded and reinvented by prolific children's author and artist Patricia Polacco in this charming picture-book, which presents the cocky batsman as a little league player. Using the poem itself as her main text - "The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day: / The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play" - Polacco adds a brief prose narrative at the beginning and end of her book, filling out the story, and giving it an unexpected, and ultimately heartwarming conclusion.

The only one of Polacco's many picture-books that she did not write herself (at least, not in whole), Casey at the Bat presents a unique, and entirely fitting revisionist take on this American classic. Fitting, because Polacco's body of work, as a whole, has a distinctly American ethos - I have seen her books described as "Americana," a judgment with which I would concur - and her artwork is well suited to this tale. I can't say, in all honesty, that Thayer's poem has ever been a personal favorite of mine, but Polacco's presentation certainly makes me feel its hometown charm! Recommended to young baseball enthusiasts, and to fans of the author/artist.
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LibraryThing member Truly.Mae.Pettijohn
Summary- A story about how Casey didn't hit the baseball.

Personal Opinion- It's a very cut and dry story. I didn't relished it was suppose to be song like until I reread the cover.

Classroom Extension- 1) What are the rules to baseball. 2) What life was like in United States in the late 1880's. 3) Expectations of others are not always met.… (more)
LibraryThing member jon1lambert
Not cricket but baseball - a great stirring piece of verse.
LibraryThing member EmilySadler
I thought that the vocabulary in the poem was outdated and difficult to comprehend. Words such as “lusty,” “doffed,” and “dell” are not used in everyday language and I had difficulty understanding what was going on in the poem. I relied heavily on the pictures to help me understand the text. I also did not like the illustrations. The cartoon faces, especially that of Casey’s, were very creepy and funny looking. They were helpful in portraying the story and the emotions of the characters, but not enjoyable to look at. I really enjoyed the plot of the poem. The ending was very surprising because the entire poem describes Casey as being a might player who would surely hit the ball, but he actually strikes out. Casey seems to be a very cocky player and does not even try to hit the first two balls that are thrown to him. The message of the poem seemed to be that being too sure of yourself can backfire.… (more)
LibraryThing member vsoler
I love the old-fashioned look of all of Bing's illustrations! His drawings, paired with some real historical artifacts, put the Mighty Casey in a context that looks appropriate for the 1880s when the poem was first written.
LibraryThing member KMClark
I love the way the old-styled illustrations and short story pieces before and after the original "Casey at the Bat" poem really bring this story to life. Adding what seems like minor factors actually makes this piece more enjoyable and understandable for younger children as it helps them see past some of the harder language to really understand the moral of the story. The umpire as a character close to Casey really added a little something special too :)… (more)
LibraryThing member mikefletch
Summary: In this poem, it is the last inning of a baseball game and the home team is down two runs with two outs and their two worst players up to bat. Miraculously, the two players get on base, and now their best player, Casey, is up to bat. Everyone believes they are going to win now. Casey watches one strike go by, then another, and finally he strikes out. Everyone is shocked and disappointed.

Reflection: This poem is kind of confusing, but there is a couple of things I got from it. One, don't assume anything, because you never know what could happen. Two, don't ever get too big headed, because when you do, that is when someone will come along and deflate it very quickly.

Extension: For a extension, I would have the students discuss what their reaction would be if they were a fan of that team and how they would feel. For another activity, I would create a poem using the whole class. I would choose a topic then go around the room and have each student come up with a line for the poem.
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(103 ratings; 4.1)
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