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Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs [Paperback]

Ron Koertge

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Book Description

March 13 2012
Fielding his social life is a bigger challenge for Kevin than hitting a fastball in Ron Koertge’s funny, insightful sequel to SHAKESPEARE BATS CLEANUP.

Fourteen-year-old Kevin Boland has a passion for playing baseball, a
knack for writing poetry — and a cute girlfriend named Mira who’s not much interested in either. But then, Kevin doesn’t exactly share Mira’s newfound fervor for all things green. So when Kevin signs up for open mike night at Bungalow Books and meets Amy, a girl who knows a sonnet from a sestina and can match his emails verse for verse, things start to get sticky. Should he stay with Mira? Or risk spoiling his friendship with Amy by asking her out? Ron Koertge, master of snappy dialogue and a deft poet, offers a fast-paced, sympathetic story that interweaves two narrative voices with humor and warmth.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (March 13 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763658529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763658526
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #386,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Ron Koertge is the author of many acclaimed novels, including DEADVILLE, STONER AND SPAZ, THE BRIMSTONE JOURNALS, and his first novel-in-verse about Kevin Boland, SHAKESPEARE BATS CLEANUP. A two-time winner of the PEN Award, Ron Koertge lives in South Pasadena, California.

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare tries a little too hard Sept. 10 2010
By Maggie Knapp - Published on Amazon.com
This is an interesting mix of plot and delivery. Koertge combines YA story lines (Kevin is wavering between two girls he likes; dealing with his dad's foray into dating after the death of his mom, baseball) with a format that (sadly) will not grab most young recreational readers. I loved Koertge's demonstrations and explanations of various types of poetry. I hope anyone who teaches poetry or is encouraging young people to explore poetry will consider using this book or giving it as a gift, for that is its real strength.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: LibraryLoungeLizard.com March 12 2010
By Darcy Wishard - Published on Amazon.com
As a teacher and librarian it is always awesome when authors write books that can be used in the classroom. There are great examples of all different types of poetry here:

* Pantoum
* Blank Verse
* Haiku
* Couplets
* Sestina
* Elegy

and much more! Both of the authors books, Shakespeare Bats Cleanup and Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs, have wonderful, fluid story lines and it is awesome to watch Kevin (who strictly identified himself as an athlete) discover the magic of poetry.

I recommend this book for any parent, teacher or librarian who wants to have books about poetry that are great for reluctant readers because lets face it, telling a kid that you have a great book about poetry for them will probably result in a look of slight terror.

At a non-imposing 170 pages, Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs is an easy sell because it has sports for the guys and a little romance for the girls. For those kids who enjoy a tear-jerker there is also plenty of poetry/story line about Kevin's mom who has passed away and how he and his father are dealing with it.

I've recently dedicated a whole section in my library to books written in prose. You would be surprised how many there are out there and these two books will be part of the star attraction. Get these books now, seriously....with video games, TV, iPhones and everything else, kids are being exposed to things like poetry less and less. Who knows, maybe the kid you give these books to will be our next great poet!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Examples June 15 2011
By Ohioan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What's wonderful about this book, the sequel to Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, is the types of poems the hero writes: they are outstanding examples of what a high school poet can write. I can see that teachers would want to use this book in class. What's weak about the book is the plot: it's not that interesting. The hero seems oblivious, for a poet. Of course, he is a teen, so he does have a lot of learning ahead of him, but, ironically, the first book, in which the hero was bedridden and weak, had a more compelling plot. But if you're considering buying one of the many YA books written in free verse or, in this case, some traditional poetic forms, Koertge's are still at the top of the list.
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone can relate to the teenage angst in SHAKESPEARE MAKES THE PLAYOFFS and have fun at the same time June 10 2010
By Teen Reads - Published on Amazon.com
I come in tired
from baseball practice, and Dad catches me
guzzling OJ right out of the carton.

"Want a journal?" he asks. "You're a writer.
All writers need journals."

I put the orange juice away and hold out my mitt,
the one Mom bought me. "I'm a first baseman."

"Who used to write poetry. Your teammates
called you Shakespeare." He hands me a notebook.

"And it doesn't have to be poetry. It doesn't
even have to be a journal. It could be a diary."

He lays it on the table, opens the first page, and writes with his favorite gel pen: Shakespeare's

Maybe I should start again. I play ball a lot, because if I don't, I get rusty.

All I need now are some secrets.

Kevin, a.k.a. Shakespeare, doesn't seem to have a lot of secrets, at least none that he feels like sharing. The people in his life, however, bombard him left and right with secrets that take him by surprise, and not necessarily in a good way. For instance, Kevin's dad has lately taken to throwing away all of his deceased wife's belongings --- much to Kevin's dislike --- and wants Kevin to meet a new woman, Anna. Kevin isn't sure what to think about his father dating, so firing off a poem or two is his best way of coping.

Kevin seems to be doing a lot of coping lately, especially concerning his girlfriend Mira. Sure she's cute, popular and funny, but she doesn't appear interested in anything that Kevin enjoys. This includes skipping all of his beloved baseball games, wrinkling up her nose at his poetry, and focusing on more important things, like the environment. Kevin likes Mira, but perhaps it's time to find someone he's more compatible with. Someone like Amy.

Kevin meets Amy at an open mike night at the Book Bungalow, and they instantly click. Amy is impressed that Kevin writes and shares poetry; Kevin is enthralled with the easy-going nature of Amy, not to mention her incredible talent in the arts. They start swapping poems over email, and he finds himself falling for her --- big time. Just when Kevin is ready to declare his feelings, Amy lets out her secret: she already has a boyfriend. Is there a proper way for utter despair and misery to be expressed eloquently in a poem?

I appreciate SHAKESPEARE MAKES THE PLAYOFFS for so many reasons. First, the poetry is amazing. Ron Koertge has his characters spend time experimenting with many different forms. This helps break up the blank verse poems in between and adds a twist of fun every now and then. It also is inspiring to the readers to go ahead and give it a try. Second, I appreciate that the main character is a boy who is completely and utterly cool with writing poetry. It's a part of him, and he has no shame in expressing his feelings about all that is happening in his life through verse. If anything, the poems help clarify his thoughts, which is another important message to the reader. Finally, the overall storyline is fun and insightful. Everyone can relate to the teenage angst in SHAKESPEARE MAKES THE PLAYOFFS and have fun at the same time.
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs March 11 2010
By Jenny, Wondrous Reads - Published on Amazon.com
Ron Koertge's sequel to Shakespeare Bats Cleanup is a thoroughly absorbing novel, written in verse and more types of poetry than I ever knew existed. It focuses more on Kevin's relationship with girlfriend Mira, his budding friendship with poet Amy, and how he deals with his father starting to date again.

Kevin continues his Shakespeare ways, this time with the help of Amy, a girl who loves poetry just as much as he does. Together they write some brilliant poems about vampires, including my personal favourite, 'Transylvanian Limericks'. Seriously, if there was one thing that would get me into poetry, it's poems about Dracula. Kevin and Amy write quite a few in different formats and styles, and I loved them all.

Koertge does a brilliant job of invoking those old teenage feelings and dilemmas, and Kevin's attraction to two girls is played out well. These things happen in high school, and I'm glad Kevin's experience is realistic, rather than reminiscent of an exaggerated teen movie. His aversion to his father's new girlfriend is also very well written, and I can imagine how difficult it must be to welcome someone new into your life. It's all a learning curve, and no-one knows the right way to behave in these situations, not even parents.

I loved this book, and I hope Koertge will write more about Kevin. I need more haikus and sestinas, and more poetry about the undead!

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