Monday, May 24, 2010


By Kurtis Scaletta
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 978-0-375-95579-2

FROM THE FLAP: The sky had opened, sending sheets of rain across the baseball field, while lightning was flashing in the distance.

The last two boys were my father and the Sinister Bend pitcher. They were the only ones whose parents had not yet come to pick them up. They waited, wet and cold, in different corners of the muddy diamond, a full hour after every single other person had gone home.

At last, the Sinister Bend pitcher stood up and stepped out of the rain.

“This isn’t over!” he shouted at my Dad. “Not by a long shot!”

It still isn’t over, twenty-two years later. After all, it’s still raining.

KATE’S TAKE: This is a baseball curse story that tops ‘em all.

BASEBALL (Interpersonal, Kinesthetic)

After students have done the timeline and researched past town rivals, divide the class into two groups and head out for an inning or two of baseball or softball.

BIOMIMICRY (Naturalist, Logical/Mathematical, Visual/Spatial, and Interpersonal)

Roy’s dad’s business installs, “sheets of heavy-duty plastic arced over roofs like the protective wings of a mother bird” to protect houses from rain damage. Ask students to pair up and brainstorm a new product that mimics an animal or a plant from nature and will help people improve their ability in a specific hobby. First, ask each pair to brainstorm five activities/hobbies they have in common. Then ask each pair to think about what product would help them enjoy more or increase their skills in a certain hobby.Students will make a drawing of the product and present their poster to the class. Here are two great sites with more information on biomimicry: and Special thanks to Lisa Sama for this activity.

PERCENTAGES (Logical/Mathematical)

“To understand baseball, you have to understand percentages.” That’s what Roy, the main character, tells us in his first line. Invite each student to pick his or her favorite athlete and calculate percentages and fractions for that players statistics. Anyone who finishes early can write the numbers as decimals too.

TOWN TIMELINE (Interpersonal, Kinesthetic, Verbal/Linguistic)

After students have completed their posters in Sly Sleuths, ask them to come up to the front of the classroom, make a timeline, and do an oral presentation on the information they found. Invite other classes to come learn about their town.

SLY SLEUTHS (Verbal/Linguistic, Interpersonal)

Have students work in pairs and research their town’s history from a certain time period. Give each pair a different time period to research. Students should report on major date and facts as well as any tension between groups of new and old settlers. Ask them to make posters for their time period.


-Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse by David A. Kelly
-Baseball Great by Tim Green
-Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
-Lucky by Wes Tooke
-Six Innings by James Preller
-The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John H. Ritter
-The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz
-Top of the Order by John Coy

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