Bats at the Ballgame by Brian Lies
June 30, 2011 in Art activities, Elementary Educators, Making Book to Book Comparisons, Making Personal Connections, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Rhyming Words, Shared Writing, six traits of writing, Writing Skills Tags: 6 +1 traits of writing, baseball books for kids, Brian Lies, picture books for boys
*Picture book, fantasy for preschoolers through second graders
*Bats (the animal) as main characters
*Rating: The strength in Bats at the Ballgame is definitely the illustrative talent of Brian Lies–cute concept and some clever text, like Cricket Jacks!
Short, short summary: Told in rhymed verse, Bats at the Ballgame by Brian Lies is the story of the bats’ baseball game against a tough opponent. How could any bat forget?/In all the countless years we’ve met,/it seems the team we’ll play tonight/has beaten us in every fight./ With beautiful illustrations, the reader is treated to the bats preparing the playing field and the spectators buying Cricket Jack, mothdogs, and infield flies–all snacks suitable for bats. When the game begins, the narrator’s team is off to a slow start once again through the 6th inning. In the 7th inning, there’s finally some action, but it’s for the other team. So the rest of the story is about whether or not the bat ballplayers can overcome this action and win the game.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. This is a great book to share during summer school, in those warm spring months before school is out (or your home school children are ready to have a break), or even in the fall around World Series time. There is quite a bit of “baseball lingo” in here, which your boy and girl baseball players will appreciate. Ask students to make personal connections with the text, as they have all probably at least played baseball/softball in P.E. or at recess. Ask them to write a paragraph about what this book makes them think about in their own lives. (It could be any sporting event, actually.)
2. You can teach word choice and sentence fluency, two of the 6 + 1 traits of writing, with this book. Word choice is an obvious lesson since Lies has written descriptive text, and it rhymes. Don’t you love the way he chose to write Cricket Jacks instead of Cracker Jacks? Even that one simple word makes an entirely different book–this is word choice at its finest. As for sentence fluency, when you read a rhyming book like this out loud, your students can really hear how the text flows. Look at the punctuation, too, and/or transition words to see how these keep the text flowing.
3. Brian Lies has beautiful illustrations. Give your students a chance to study them. What do they notice? How do the illustrations and the text work together to tell the story? If your students really love his work, then share (and compare and contrast) one of his other books such as Bats in the Library.