"Comparing and contrasting in literacy involves so much more than creating Venn diagrams. Learning to compare and contrast leads to other important comprehension strategies such as making connections and determining importance. In addition, it is the ability to compare and contrast that allows students to distinguish genres. In grades K2, students are learning to recognize similarities and differences in texts using prior knowledge and experiences and to compare and contrast different versions of the same story. Furthermore, students must begin to demonstrate comprehension by creating and using graphic organizers that compare and contrast information."
After reading both "Casey at the Bat" and "Casey Back at Bat," described in "On the Bookshelf" below, have students, working in small groups or as a class, compare the two poems. Several other books listed below can also be paired for the purpose of comparisonGirl Wonder and Catching the Moon, My Baseball Book and This Is Baseball, and Dino-Baseball and Homer.
Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team by Audrey Vernick, illustrations by Steven Salerno (Clarion Books, New York, 2012). There were enough Acerras brothers to form their own semiprofessional team and then some. The book follows the brothers as they play baseball as children in the 1920s and 1930s, play together as a semipro team in the late 1930s, suspend play to fight during World War II, and play a pickup game with their children and grandchildren.
Just as Good: How Larry Doby Changed America's Game by Chris Crowe, illustrations by Mike Benny (Candlewick Press, Somerville; MA; 2012). It's October 9, 1948, and the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox are battling it out in the World Series. Readers will feel the excitement that the young narrator feels, as he listens to the game on the radio, when Larry Doby, the first African American to join an American League team, hits the first home run of the series.
Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrations by Terry Widener (Atheneum, New York, 2003). Girl Wonder is based on the life of Alta Weiss, who was born in Holmes County (Ohio) and played for the Vermilion Independents. Eventually she gave up baseball and became a doctor. A timeline at the back of the book highlights women's achievements in baseball, beginning in 1866.
Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream by Crystal Hubbard, illustrations by Randy DuBurke (Lee & Low, New York, 2005). Marcenia Lyle became the first woman to play on a professional men's baseball team when she joined the Negro League's Indianapolis Clowns in 1953, taking the place of none other than Hank Aaron. Catching the Moon captures a time in her youth (elementary school age) when she struggled to be accepted into a summer baseball day camp for boys.
Poem Runs: Baseball Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian (Harcourt, Boston, 2012). Fun poems. Choose a few to read to the class.
Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888 by Ernest L. Thayer, illustrations by C. F. Payne (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2003). The classic.
Casey Back at Bat by Dan Gutman, illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (HarperCollins, New York, 2007). Casey gets another chance, with humorous results. After students read this (or you've read this as a class), it might be fun to discuss other possible scenarios for Casey's second chance.
My Baseball Book by Gail Gibbons (HarperCollins, New York, 2000). My Baseball Book does an excellent job of explaining and illustrating the essentials of the game in a simple, straightforward way.
This Is Baseball by Margaret Blackstone, illustrations by John O'Brien (Henry Holt, New York, 1993).Like Gail Gibbons's My Baseball Book, this book too does a good job of explaining and illustrating the essentials of the game in a simple, straightforward way. This book is simpler than the Gibbons book, covering the bare basics, and does it in a very reader-friendly way.
Ballpark by Elisha Cooper (Greenwillow Books, New York, 1998). With no more than a few sentences on each page, the author-artist depicts what happens at the ballpark, from mowing the field before the game, to laundering the uniforms, to playing the game itself.
Little BaseballLots of Fun with Rhyming Riddles (Sleeping Bear Press, Ann Arbor, MI, 2011). Read a riddle on one page. Then turn the page and find the answer.
Dino-Baseball by Lisa Wheeler, illustrations by Barry Gott (Carolrhoda Books, Mankato, MN, 2010). Dinosaurs play baseball in their ballpark, named, of course, Jurassic Park. The story is recounted in rhyming couplets.
Homer by Diane deGroat and Shelley Rotner (Orchard Books, New York, 2012). Homer, a baseball-playing dog, meets up with his fellow pups to play a championship ballgame. The book is filled with doggy comments and photo-cartoon artwork that will make children laugh.