Koertge, R. (2003). Shakespeare bats cleanup. Cambridge: Candlewick Press.
At a first glance, Ron Koertge’s Shakespeare Bats Cleanup looks like your average realistic fiction novel about a young, adolescent boy. However, once you begin to read you to find that all the journal entries are written in poetic form. Iambic pentameter, haiku, and couplet verses are just some of the main character’s talents. Well, not at first. The main character (also the narrator), Kevin Boland, appears like the average teenage boy. He loves baseball, struggles with the death of his mother, hangs out with his friends, and tries to round the bases with the girls at school. However, once Kevin gets sick with mono, he is rendered unable to play baseball for sometime. This is when his appreciation for poetry develops. As he lays in bed he reflects on his life: how much he misses his mother, being bummed about missing out on the baseball field, and which girl he currently likes. Kevin tries to keep this “dark” secret hidden from his friends, but they eventually find out and poke fun at him for it. This is when they begin to affectionately call him “Shakespeare”. Throughout the novel Kevin learns lessons about life, girls, baseball, and poetry. Though the two seem worlds apart, he comes to realize that poetry is “almost as cool as baseball”. Read Ron Koertge’s Shakespeare Bats Cleanup to learn how sports and poetry can get along within the pages of the same novel.