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Shakespeare Bats Cleanup (Shakespeare Bats Cleanup #1)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  816 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
"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." - SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review)

When MVP Kevin Boland gets the news that he has mono and won't be seeing a baseball field for a while, he suddenly finds himself scrawling a poem down the middle of a page in his jour
Paperback, 128 pages
Published February 14th 2006 by Candlewick Press (first published March 1st 2003)
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Jun 07, 2007 MissInformation rated it really liked it
Shelves: yabooks
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup is the witty and touching observations of a teenage boy who discovers poetry while recovering from mono. Written like a diary, the main character Kevin is at first resistant to writing. He has been an accomplished baseball player, and doesn’t want to identify himself as “sensitive.” As time goes on, Kevin becomes increasingly enchanted by various forms of poetry, language itself, and the ability to express himself. Relationships with his father, his deceased mother, base ...more
Mar 18, 2008 Alison rated it it was amazing
When fourteen-year-old Kevin Boland gets sidelined from the baseball team because of mono, his writer-Dad hands him a notebook: “Maybe you’ll feel like writing something down.” Before he knows it, Kevin is feverishly writing pantoums in memory of his mom, haikus about his ex…the poems just keep on coming. When Kevin finally returns to the dugout, his teammates balk at his new passion for poetry, but new girl in town, Mira, thinks it’s kind of cool. Can a skinny eighth grader pull off being a cle ...more
Oct 17, 2008 Jessicat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, poetry, teaching
What a fun read on poetry. I like the message that a tough ball player can like poetry too.
Nov 18, 2008 Becca rated it it was amazing
I like it as it is from the perspective of a teenage boy. Creative. Unusual
Nov 19, 2008 Estephanie rated it it was amazing
this book was funny and weird. i never knew that you can write a novel including poetry in it. it seems so hard. along the way i enjoyed reading it because it was cool how he was talking about his ex girlfriends and what he did with them.
Aug 17, 2009 Jessicca rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah BT
Mar 01, 2010 Sarah BT rated it really liked it
About the Books: 14-year-old Kevin is stuck at home with Mono, which means he's not allowed to play any baseball. To pass the time, he starts to write. First he writes so it looks like poetry, then he begins to take an interest in poetry and explores different types of poems. He writes about his mom's death, baseball, and life in middle school. He also meets Mira, a new girl in school that makes him not want to hide the fact that he's a writer.
In Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs, Kevin is back. H
Apr 12, 2010 Erin rated it really liked it
This novel written as poetry was a treat to read!

From the back cover:
At fourteen, Kevin Boland is a straight-talking MVP first baseman who can't tell a ballad from a salad. but when he is diagnosed with mono and is forced to spend months at home recuperating, Kevin secretly borrows his father's poetry book and starts writing, just to pass the time. Inside the book, Kevin discovers more than haiku and sonnets. he gains insight--sometimes humorous, sometimes painful--as he records his candid obse
Kathleen Dupré
May 01, 2011 Kathleen Dupré rated it it was amazing
I was not necessarily looking forward to reading this book--not dreading it, but not super excited either. But I was very pleasantly surprised. The book does a great job on all fronts: it displays multiple forms of poetry, showing that poetry, a dying art, is neither boring nor daunting, and it manages to portray the struggles of a fourteen year old baseball player with mono, whose mother has recently died, who is battling for his place on the team and in the eyes of girls, without getting overl ...more
Karen Keyte

“It feels weird smuggling something about poetry up to my room like it’s the new Penthouse. / 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.” - from “Inquiring Minds Want to Know,” by Kevin Boland

Up until now, Kevin Boland’s life has been pretty simple, fairly straight-forward. He goes to school, plays baseball. He’s even kissed a couple of girls. Except now, he can’t. He can’
May 18, 2012 Shel rated it liked it
REVIEW: Shakespeare Bats Cleanup (It's like a better sequel to Love That Dog than Hate That Cat was! Yay sports + poetry!)

Koertge, R. (2003). Shakespeare Bats Cleanup. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.

116 pages.

Appetizer: 14-year-old Kevin Boland wants nothing more than to play baseball. But after he is diagnosed with mono, there's no way he'll be able to play ball or go back to school for a looooooooong time. Stuck in his room and bored, Kevin is anything but excited when his dad (a writer) give
Apr 26, 2016 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-420
To be honest, I wasn't really expecting to like this book very much. But I actually did! I thought it was rather ingenious how the author had Kevin (a 14-year-old boy who begins to write poetry after becoming bedridden from getting mono) take us all through his process of coming to love poetry. He first starts writing after he became sick and received a marbled black and white notebook from his dad to pass the time. He realizes that the things he is jotting down run down the middle of the page " ...more
Feb 20, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lit
Kevin Boland, our protagonist, has eyes for one thing: baseball. However, when a case of mono strikes this fourteen year old first-basemen, Kevin is forced to find entertainment in something other than the America's favorite pastime. In a fit of boredom, he wanders into his father's library where he is begins a very secretive flirtation with poetry. The next 116 pages document both Kevin's own attempts at poetry, and an often funny, sometimes heart-felt, look at Kevin's life.

This is a character
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup is an unexpected little gem of a book. Written through the pen of its narrator, fourteen-year-old Kevin Boland, it is the surprising journey of a boy discovering new passions, talents and perspectives on his road to becoming the man he will eventually become.

Kevin is stranded at home with mono. His father, a writer himself, gives him a notebook to use as a journal of sorts while he is stuck in bed. Swiping a book about poetry structures and philosophies from his father’s
Apr 11, 2012 LeGrand rated it really liked it
Shelves: engl-420

Shakespeare Bats cleanup is the story of how one boy discovers the power of poetry. Kevin Boland is a baseball player who is virtually bed ridden for awhile because he has mono. He has nothing else to do, so he decides to give a go at poetry. He begins to like poetry because it allows him to explore his thoughts. He is a little worried about what other might think if they found out that a jock likes writing poetry. Kevin ends up meeting a girl who encourages his poetry, and he dec
Apr 21, 2012 Elisquared rated it really liked it
I finally read Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, which is the first companion novel (and first book) to Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs. Luckily since these books are in verse, going backwards worked out. The first book was just as enjoyable as the second, and I'm so glad I got to pick it up.

Here we meet Kevin in the throes of mono. Since he can't play baseball, his dad gives him a journal to use while he's stuck in bed. At first he doesn't write much, but one day he scribbles a poem down. After swiping
May 18, 2012 Rusty rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this read as the author described different forms of poetry a"nd the boy writes them about his friends, family and baseball which he loves. Some examples:

How Do You Do, Haiku

"Still, haiku look easy. Sort of, Five
syllables in the first line, seven
in the second, five in the third."

Just Not a Very Good
Pantoum for Mom

"You know what kept me from leaking
all over the page? Sticking to the rules
about what rhymes with what and how
two lines from one stanza turn into
two lines in the next."

Plain Wo
Sep 16, 2012 Gina rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic YA book (listed as 12 and up). I literally read it within an hour or two, so it's also great for the reluctant reader. Told in the form of one or two pages poems is the story of a baseball playing boy who has mono. I love the story and can't wait to bring it to my 8th grade class tomorrow- I'm sure it will catch the attention of those who like baseball as well as those who are attracted to "thin" books-lol!
Feb 14, 2013 Les rated it really liked it
Short book, only 116 pages. Since the cover mentioned poetry I assumed it was going to written in something like free verse and I would be able to skim through it over lunch. Instead I wound up reading it closely and learned a few things about poetry from it.

Kevin is 14 and lives with his dad; his mother died of cancer several years earlier and to a certain extent they're still bumbling along without her. Kevin lives for baseball and lurching through clumsy relationships with girls.

Suddenly he
May 04, 2013 Ben rated it liked it
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ron Koertge is an amazing and quick read. A fourteen year old boy named Kevin Boland is a great baseball player who is very passionate about the sport. He would hit baseballs all day long. Unfortunately, Kevin gets very sick and has Mono which is a very bad virus. He is sidelined from baseball, and forced to spend weeks in his bed. Very bored, his dad decides to give him a journal. He starts to write poetry in his journal. He learns many types of poems like haikus and ...more
Nov 17, 2013 Cat. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never read anything by Koertge that didn't rate above a 7 on my scale of perfection. This book is no exception, although it is quite different from his usual Teen Problem Novel. This time we are led through mono and poetry exercises by a 14-year-old baseball star, bored out of his mind and doing anything to pass the time, even writing poetry. He turns out to be pretty good at it: from free verse to sonnets to sestinas (I'd never heard of these, but I'm now itching to try one!). On the oth ...more
Feb 18, 2014 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Used this as a read aloud two years ago and my students loved it! I think it made them appreciate poetry more, and I also used it to reinforce figurative language. Gonna try it again with this year'a group!
Apr 09, 2015 Courtnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, ya, poetry, 2015
I went to vote last night, and my polling place just happens to be at my library. I've been thinking about finding a baseball themed book since the fever has taken me yet again (Go Royals!), and so when I spied this on a display table, I grabbed for it like there was a run on the library and I was going to have to beat some people down for my check-outs.

I might have squeaked a little too because the cover was speaking to me.

It was an off day last night, meaning no baseball game to watch, so I sa
Apr 08, 2015 Anna added it
Shelves: books-13-25
Kevin Boland has mono, which means no baseball for him until he's recovered. Bored out of his mind with nothing to do but sleep at home, Kevin secretly makes off with a poetry book of his dad's. When he starts reading it, he decides to try some of the ideas out, just as something to do. Soon, he realizes that he is able to express some feelings through poetry that he couldn't have before. As his health improves, so does his poetry and his ability to confront and accept his feelings about basebal ...more
Sarah Graham
Jun 17, 2015 Sarah Graham rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-1-12
Kevin Boland is a baseball player. At 14 he believes baseball is the only important thing in the world and he is admittedly good at it. That is until he is diagnosed with mono and forced to rest and stay home from school and baseball practice. His dad gives him a notebook in case he gets bored and he does. Soon Kevin is exploring poetry and sneaking books from his dad’s room as he discovers that there is more to life than being a jock and maybe that stuff is just as fun as executing a beautiful ...more
Samantha Nacayama
Jun 04, 2015 Samantha Nacayama rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2016 Emily rated it liked it
I blazed through this book in about an hour and a half this afternoon, but there's a lot here had I wanted to stop and linger in the story a little longer. The entire novel is written in verse, something Kevin (the 14-year-old protagonist) is learning about while at home recovering from mono. Occasionally, he'll try out a new verse form (haiku, sonnet, ballad, sestina, etc.) and then draw the reader's attention to what he's doing. Some of the poems are pretty clever. My favorite was his initial ...more
Chad Durham
Jul 21, 2016 Chad Durham rated it really liked it
My son and I read this together and, though it sometimes seemed like the kids in the book were a little more adult than their ages indicated, I really enjoyed the book. Most of the book was written in journal-entry-like prose or poems and the main character loved both baseball and poetry. It appealed to my son and was a very quick and fun read.
My first impression post-reading was that this was a clever book. I liked how the narrator told his story through various poetic forms. After thinking more about it, I realized that this book does not speak kindly of females. The girls at Kevin's schools are known for dating reputations and what figurative bases they will go to. Most of the mother figures of his friends are absentee parents who seem not to care. Even Mira gets a set down as a blabbermouth. Only Kevin's mom remains unscathed, but ...more
Kenneth Hatton
Sep 28, 2016 Kenneth Hatton rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Mrs. Gallagher's ...: Jennifer Burke Review 1 5 May 01, 2013 05:55PM  
Mrs. Gallagher's ...: shakespeare + baseball = a good book 1 5 Apr 30, 2013 05:17PM  
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Ask Ron Koertge what he brings to the realm of young adult fiction, and the seasoned author responds matter-of-factly. "I write dialogue well, and I'm funny," he says--an assessment few would argue with. "I like iconoclasm and practice it in my fiction. I don't like pretense or hypocrisy. I'm almost always irreverent."

A faculty member for more than 35 years at Pasadena City College, where he has
More about Ron Koertge...

Other Books in the Series

Shakespeare Bats Cleanup (2 books)
  • Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs (Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, #2)

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