Shakespeare Bats Cleanup

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The Poetry of a First Baseman
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In Bed

Being sick is like taking a trip, isnt it

Going to another country, sort of.

A country nobody wants to visit.

A country named Fevertown.

Or Virusburg. Or Germ Corners.

So starts the wonderful Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, a novel in verse by Ron Koertge. Fourteen year old Kevin Borland is sidelined from his baseball team with a bout a mono&monouglyosis. His father, a novelist, gives him a marbly black-and-white notebook, you know, the kind you used in third grade and suggested he try writing, nothing formal. Hey, baseball players dont write. But laid up in bed with nothing to do, Kevin starts to scribble. He then goes down to his dads library and borrows a book on poetry. What the heck, hell give it a try.

The result is Kevins attempts, some of them silly, some serious. Kevin reminisces about his mother who passed away. His mind rambles about the girls hes dated


I liked Sherry Toi






or how the guys on the team treat him now that hes sick or will a car salesman sell a convertible to a geeky guy. He tries his hand at haikus and sonnets and couplets and the sestinas (which I wont even try to explain to you).

Whats great about Shakespeare Bats Cleanup is that the poems are everyday poems. The sonnets dont sound like Shakespeare. Who knows what a pantoum is supposed to sound like, anyway? The subjects of his verse are everyday occurrences. If you can believe it, poetry made Kevin a better baseball player. And who knows, if you try writing poetry, you might get a girlfriend, like Kevin did, because poets are sensitive and girls like that. So, enjoy Shakepeare Bats Cleanup. Enjoy the poetry and story and maybe, just maybe, youll learn something about poetry too. You cant go wrong. And stay tuned for my review of Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs, coming soon.
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A HomeRun of a Book!
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Reader reviewed by Ellen

Ronald Koertge has an amazing use of poetic form in the book Shakespeare Bats Cleanup. This book tells the story of a boy named Kevin who has to stay home from school because of an illness. This is hard for Kevin because he is so used to playing baseball everyday for his school, but because of being sick from Mononucleosis, he has very limited mobility. Kevin looks through his dad's things and finds out the amazing things that poetry can do. There are things he never knew about poetry and life that he learns, just while staying home from an illness.
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