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Skeleton bats cleanup

by Ron Koertge


Book Review

:

Publishers Weekly :

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A 14-year-old baseball star temporarily sidelined by a case of mono narrates Koertge's (The Brimstone Journals; Stoner & Spaz) affecting novel told in verse. After Kevin's writer father gives him a journal, the bored boy sneaks a book about poetry out of his father's den and decides, "I'm just going to fool around a little,/ see what's what poetry-wise." Though he dabbles in several poetic forms, including haiku, sonnet, ballad and rhymed couplets, Kevin writes primarily in free verse. He candidly and sometimes comically muses on his baseball ambitions, former girlfriends, teammates, his rapport with his supportive, sympathetic father and his budding romance with a bright, caring young woman. Several heart-wrenching poems describe his and his father's pain-and gradual healing-following the recent death of Kevin's mother. Some of the entries are more effective than others, yet the teen's newly discovered poetic voice evolves believably and winningly. Kevin's numerous perceptive observations (e.g., "The rules of the game/ [of] baseball and poetry aren't that different"; "When I got sick I missed baseball./ When I got well I missed writing./ Amazing") may well inspire readers to reflect on their own feelings and aspirations-and to express themselves more creatively. This novel scores points for both style and substance. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 6-9-Like his earlier The Brimstone Journals (Candlewick, 2001), Koertge writes this novel in highly accessible free verse. Fourteen-year-old Kevin Boland is an MVP first baseman whose whole life revolves around baseball. Diagnosed with mono, he is forced to stay at home for months while he recuperates. Bored, Kevin borrows his father's book of poetry and starts writing his own. At first, he just has fun imitating haiku and sonnets, but he soon begins writing insightful verse, both funny and serious, in which he records his candid observations about life in junior high, romance, his dreams of baseball stardom, and his grief over the recent death of his mother. This funny and poignant novel celebrates the power of writing to help young people make sense of their lives and unlock and confront their problems. The cover will lead readers to believe that this is about baseball, but they will quickly realize there is much, much more to this finely crafted story.-Edward Sullivan, White Pine School, TN

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

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