Favorite Book Friday: Casey at the Bat

wildish child favorite book friday casey at the bat illustrated by patricia polacco hat glove shoes bat

Did you know that yesterday, March 29th, was the official start of the 2018 Major League Baseball season?  Well, now you do.

To be honest, I had to look it up.  I know spring ushers in the start of baseball season, but I previously couldn't have told you whether that meant March or April.  You see, we are not what you would call a "sports family".  By that I mean neither my husband, myself, nor any of our children are interested in watching sports.  We enjoy being active and playing in the yard, but that's about it.

Every year I dread football season because every other human on the planet knows everything about every player and team and that's all they seem to want to talk about.  It's like a foreign language to me.  At least I have my family.  I take my husband's mutual apathy towards sports as a sign that we are meant to be.

There is one sport, though, that can hold my interest (and that I understand)--baseball.

wildish child favorite book friday casey at the bat illustrated by patricia polacco crowd scene

This probably stems from early memories of playing it in the yard with my dad, playing recreational softball for years, and from the rabbit ear days of television when baseball dominated the airwaves every spring and summer.  Before we had children, Mr. and I could occasionally be found relaxing in our matching La-Z-Boys and enjoying a game.  However, that's all a vague memory.  The thought of sitting still for that long is now an alien concept.  Perhaps it's something we'll do again once the children are grown.

Any who, I did some planning ahead for the Favorite Book Friday series.  In those efforts I discovered baseball season would open the day before a post was due.  Immediately I thought of one of my favorite poems. 

wildish child favorite book friday casey at the bat illustrated by patricia polacco casey swinging

You are probably very familiar with Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer.  And just so you know the full name is Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888.  You can see why people shorten it up.

As the full title tells you, the poem was first published in 1888.  As such, the copyright for it has expired and it's in the public domain.  So, if you need an instant Casey at the Bat fix, a quick Internet search will satisfy your longing.  But might I suggest a great book format that we have and enjoy?

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There are actually several book options for Casey at the Bat, but the version we have is illustrated by the super talented Patricia Polacco.  I featured another book she wrote and illustrated, Pink and Say, last month.

Polacco's version contains the full text of Thayer's original poem, but she adds some short non-poetical text before and after his words that work in conjunction with her artwork to frame the context of the story as a children's little league game rather than in a professional setting. 

As the poem is really a commentary on the dangers of an over-inflated ego, Polacco's version works wonderfully in entertaining while teaching the important lesson to kids about pride going before the fall.  In short, it's fun, effective, and entertaining.

wildish child favorite book friday casey at the bat illustrated by patricia polacco final scene

In honor of baseball season, consider introducing your kids to the all-American gem that is Casey at the Bat (but you probably need to read it while eating apple pie).

wildish child favorite book friday casey at the bat illustrated by patricia polacco dee signature with heart

Prefer more visually oriented organization?  Check out my Pinterest board for all Favorite Book Friday posts.


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