Thursday, June 19, 2014

Picture Book Surprises, part 2

Joy in Mudville
by Bob Raczka
illustrated by Glin Dibley
Carolrhoda Books, 2014
review copy provided by the publisher

What a surprise to pick up the story of Casey at the Bat...the day AFTER Casey strikes out.

In the next game, Casey's got his game back on, knocking one over the fence. However, the starting pitcher has walked three straight batters and it's time to bring in a relief pitcher. Luckily, it's Joy Armstrong who's brought in on a hunch.
Because she was a girl, the fans
    assumed she'd come up short.
She'd show them soon enough that girls
    excel in many sports.
And excel she does! She hikes one pitch like a football, lobs another like a tennis serve, and delivers a third like a basketball jump shot. The batter bunts the third pitch and as the runner on third races to the home plate intent on scoring, Joy doesn't bother to scoop up the ball and throw it to the catcher, she kicks it in soccer style...for the out!

Joy's originality is a surprise, she definitely proves that she was a good choice for relief pitcher, and her name is a perfect fit for the ending of the poem:
And yes--you guessed it--
    there was joy in Mudville once again.
Ernest Lawrence Thayer's poem, Casey at the Bat is included at the end of the book, in case there are readers who need a refresher on Mudville's baseball record and famous players. Glin Dibley's illustrations use a variety of perspectives and points of view to bring the story to life.

This will be a fun read aloud, and a great mentor text for students who want to write a prequel or sequel to a well-known story or poem.

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