Casey Back at Bat

by Dan Gutman (Author) Lou Fancher (Illustrator)

Casey Back at Bat
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
The mighty Casey is getting what any failed sports hero most desires: a second chance. He's got to prove himself after his last, disastrous game. All eyes are on Casey as he steps up to the plate. Will he finally bring joy to Mudville? It's a hilarious sequel to Ernest Lawrence Thayer's famous poem "Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic."
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Publishers Weekly

What if the scourge of Mudville had another chance? Gutman (the Baseball Card Adventure series) takes a crack at a sequel to Ernest Lawrence Thayer's "Casey at the Bat" in his picture book debut. With two outs, two men on base and his team down three runs to one in the final inning of the season's last game, Casey lets two balls go by, and then, a miraclehe hits it out of the park. Indeed, the ball not only travels around the world (it nearly beans a bird, and strikes a certain tower in Pisa) but also goes back in time (past dinos) and into outer space. Unfortunately Gutman's jarring modern phrasings and bumpy rhythms are a far cry from Thayer's comic stylings, (e.g., "In the depths of outer space, an astronaut named Janet/ shrieked, 'Eureka! I have found it! I've discovered a new planet!'/ Her partner took a look and told her, "Janet, in your dreams./ I've yet to see a planet sewn together at the seams' "). But Johnson and Fancher ("Star Climbing") step up to the plate. With burnished-tone pictures cleverly textured with everything from vintage newspapers to a henna pattern on a pair of Indian rhinos, the artwork fully captures the spirit of the mock epic. Their chiseled-face Casey seems both deserving of vindication and cruising for a bruising. Which one does he end up getting? Suffice to say that once again, there is no joy in Mudville. Ages 4-8. "(Feb.)" Copyright 2006 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review
K-Gr 4In this winning picture book, Gutman revisits and updates Thayer's classic baseball poem. This time around (and much to everyone's surprise), Casey hits a fly ball that soars out of the park and keeps on going. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean and has an unfortunate encounter with a tower in Pisa before continuing on to the Sphinx in Egypt. Streaking through time, it passes dinosaurs (and sends them to their ultimate fate) and astronauts before heading back to Earth. The ride is uproarious from start to finish, and Gutman's broadly humorous verse hits all the right notes. This Casey is perfect for his role: smug, dense, and deliciously ripe for his comic send-up. "His arms, his legs, his neck, his lips-his teeth had muscles too./They rippled from his little toe up to his eyes of blue." Johnson and Fancher's paintings have a playfully nostalgic look, with a mix of textured papers and newsprint splashed across the surfaces of uniforms. Though "there's "still" no joy in Mudville," this is a fun read-aloud, and it will have baseball fans of all ages cheering. Gutman has reaffirmed the appeal of Thayer's classic."Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA" Copyright 2007 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"With a re-invention like this, Casey is welcome back at bat anytime."—Horn Book Magazine
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
March 20, 2009
BISAC categories
JUV022000 - Juvenile Fiction | Legends, Myths, & Fables | General
JUV030000 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | General
JUV032010 - Juvenile Fiction | Sports & Recreation | Baseball
Library of Congress categories
American poetry
Children's poetry, American

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