Shakespeare Bats Cleanupby Ron Koertge
When a 14-year-old baseball player catches mononucleosis, he discovers that keeping a journal and experimenting with poetry not only helps fill the time, it also helps him deal with life, love, and loss.
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- Product dimensions:
- 7.75(w) x 5.25(h) x 0.25(d)
- Age Range:
- 8 - 12 Years
Read an Excerpt
Their pitcher walks our leadoff man. Greg
moves him up to second with a perfect
sacrifice. Fabian loops one into right.
I'm up. Two on, one out. I'm the cleanup
man. My job is to bring these guys home.
I take a pitch. Foul one off. Take a strike.
Their left fielder drifts in.
Bam! I lift one right over his head. A double!
Two runs score. I slide into second. Safe!
That's what I'm thinking, anyway, propped
up in bed with some dumb book.
Than Dad comes in and says, "The doctor
called. Your tests came back. You've got
"So I can't play ball."
He pats my knee. "You can't even go to
school, Kevin. You need to take it real easy."
He hands me a journal, one of those marbly
black-and-white ones he likes.
"You're gonna have a lot of time on your
hands. Maybe you'll feel like writing
Being sick is like taking a trip, isn't it?
Going to another country, sort of.
A country nobody wants to visit.
A country named Fevertown.
Or Virusburg. Or Germ Corners.
The border guards are glum-looking,
with runny noses and pasty skin. Their
uniforms don't fit and flap open in the
back so you can see their big, ugly butts.
Nobody wants to go there, but everybody
does, sooner or later.
And some stay.
Dad's never talked to me about writing
before. He's not nuts to have me be just
Len Boggs has a dad like that. It's been
Boggs & Son ever since Lennie was about
two seconds old.
They're plumbers. "Got clogs?Call Boggs!"
Don't laugh. Their vans are all over the
place. They're rich.
And Len hates it.
Lennie's fourteen, like me. He doesn't
know what he wants to do when he grows
up. Maybe go in the Marines. Maybe play
But he for sure doesn't want to be
His dad is already on his case, riding him
I think mine's just trying to be nice.
Well, not exactly. Dad's here, that's why
we don't have to get somebody to come
in and take care of me.
First of all, I don't need much care. I sleep
all the time, or at least it feels that way.
Dad works at home. He and I pass
each other in the hall—
I in my sweats, he in his cap.
When I was little and I got sick, Mom used
to read to me.
Thinking about that's not going to help.
INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW
Why am I writing down the middle
of the page?
It kind of looks like poetry, but no way
is it poetry. It's just stuff.
So I tiptoe into the den and cop this book
It feels weird smuggling something about
poetry up to my room like it's the new
But I don't want Dad to know what I'm
doing yet. Even though I'm not doing
anything. Not really.
I'm just going to fool around a little,
see what's what poetry-wise.
HOW DO YOU DO, HAIKU
I thought I'd start small. I kind of
remember haiku from school last year.
I at least remember they're little.
But, man—I never saw so many frogs
in the moonlight. And leaves. Leaves
all over the place.
Weren't there any gardeners in ancient
Japan? Weren't there any cats and dogs?
Still, haiku look easy. Sort of. Five
syllables in the first line, seven
in the second, five in the third.
Frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs.
Frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs.
Frogs, frogs, frogs, frogs, leaves.
Very funny, Kevin.
At least I finished it. I can't finish anything
else, except my nap. Seventeen syllables
is just about right for somebody with my
reduced stamina. Perfect thing for an
Oh, man—look at that: IN VALID. I never
saw that before.
Just a single space
in a word I thought I knew
made the difference.
SHAKESPEARE BATS CLEANUP by Ron Koertge. Copyright (c) 2006 by Ron Koertge. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
Meet the Author
Ron Koertge, the author of several acclaimed novels for young adults -
including STONER & SPAZ and THE BRIMSTONE JOURNALS - has been a faculty member for more than thirty-five years at Pasadena City College, where he has taught everything from Shakespeare to remedial writing. He also writes poetry for adults. Of SHAKESPEARE BATS CLEANUP, he says, "I find it funny that kids will willingly follow the rules in any game, but if you give them rules for writing poetry, they rebel!"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The story I read is about a boy that played baseball and then he got mono so he can not play baseball. So he stays home to get better so he can not go out side or go to school and he doesn¿t get to see his friends. When he is sick he starts to write poetry and then he gets better and goes back to school and if you want to find out what happens, read the book. I like the way it is written and what it is about.
I actuly enjoyed this book and theres not many that draw my attention like this one. Positives- 1)This held my attention until the end (most books can not do that). 2)Its about baseball which is the best sport im sure everyone knew that. 3)Its also about english which is what class im doing this for and its a plus for anyone who likes baseball and needs to do a book report. 4)Its funny and not to many books that have english in it is fun to read, reading, period, is hardly ever fun but this one was. This book was up there with the top books i have ever read, i highly recommend it.
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup is about a teenage baseball-obsessed boy who suddenly finds himself out of the game with mono. His father is a writer, and gives him a journal to write in while he is in bed. He sneaks a book of poetry out of his father's study (it would ruin his image if anybody knew) and begins to record his thoughts and feelings about baseball, girls, and his mother's death while mimicking the various styles of poetry he discovers in the book. It is a sneaky way to get adolescents to understand the different forms of poetry while telling a humorous and heart-warming story of self-discovery.
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup is a super cute book. A young boy realizes it's okay to enjoy what he truely loves. I reccomend it to all ages. It is very short and easy to comprehend. YAY for reading SHAKESPEARE BATS CLEANUP!!!
This novel brought an interesting perspective from a boy in about the eighth grade. He talks about baseball and poetry a lot and he tells about his life and whats going on. It is a very easy read and I would reccomend it to grades 6-8, possibly younger. I had an extremely easy time reading it and you probably will too.