Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Casey at the Bat: A ballad of the Republic sung in the year 1888

Casey at the Bat: A ballad of the Republic sung in the year 1888

Ernest Lawrence Thayer
Illustrator:  Christopher Bing 
For ages 6 and up
Chronicle Books, 2000   ISBN: 978-1929766000

Things were not looking good for the Mudville team that day. The score was four to two and there was only one more inning to play. The crowd wondered if their team could recover from this setback, and they pinned their hopes on one player, Casey. If only Casey had a chance to bat then perhaps, just maybe, the Mudville nine would triumph. The only thing was that two players had to bat first and one was a "lulu" and the other was a "cake"

The crowd was delighted when the two players, Flynn and Blake, did the unexpected and managed to stay on the field. Then it was Casey's turn and expectations were running high. Surely the great Casey would not disappoint them. Surely Casey with his charming smile and gimlet stare would prevail.

In this unique version of the famous poem, the illustrator has created a beautiful book full of fascinating things to look at. Presented in the form of a scrapbook, readers can read the poem, look at the accompanying illustrations and they can also feast their eyes on all sorts of things that have been 'pasted' to the pages. There are newspaper clippings of articles and advertisements, tickets, money, stereoscope cards, baseball cards, medals, and pins. The effect is that we are transported back to that day in 1888 when Casey came to bat for his team. The reader gets a real sense of the excitement that filled the stands on that day, and they are also given a wonderful picture of life in America in the late 1800's.

The author also includes information about his sources, he tells us how the book was created, he gives us information about the art of engraving, and there is a biography of Ernest Lawrence Thayer to read.