We've all heard Casey at the Bat, but when was the last time you read it? When was the last time you heard it read aloud? While looking for summer related books for various story time programs, I decided to look into books about my favorite summer pastime; watching baseball. As I was swept with nostalgia, I looked through the verses in the classic, and decided to give it a try. I have read it now in front of a number of different age groups, and, astonishingly, the kids are absolutely riveted. They literally crouch on the edge of their seats, waiting to hear if Casey is going to strike out. This book is a classic for a reason, and it is meant to be read aloud. If the kids are puzzled by the word choice or the rhythm of the verse, they give no indication, and they can pick up a lot of context from the tone of your voice. I intend to use it frequently at future story times. Right now I'd like to do it at every single one forever, but I imagine I'll tire of it eventually.
I came across That Sweet Diamond while looking for some complimentary materials to go with Casey at the Bat. This is a series of poems about specific events and field positions. They are really lovely poems, but a little more difficult to comprehend, and so I would recommend them for an older audience, maybe 13+, though the young children I read some of them to also seemed to really enjoy figuring out which position the poem was about. The images are sort of blurry watercolor, nothing too fancy, but certainly do a nice job of illustrating the movement of the game, and of the verses.