Verdict: Despite some writing missteps, this beautifully illustrated hardcover book about a historical year in baseball provides information and entertainment for young readers.
The first thing children will notice upon examining a copy of THE CURSE ENDS: THE STORY OF THE CHICAGO CUBS is the delightful artwork and design. Illustrator, storyboardist, and comic book creator Mike Pascale provides captivating artwork with unusual details, perspectives, and humor – presented in gorgeous saturated color. Creative and exciting, each page is a visual surprise that almost tells the story without words.
The story is about how in 1908 the Chicago Cubs baseball team had a curse placed on them by a customer who was not permitted into the stadium with his stinky goat. In retaliation, the angry man shouted, “You will never win again!” Since then, the “Curse of the Billy Goat” seemed genuine to many people as the team lost year after year after year – 108 years to be exact. Then in 2016 the curse was lifted when the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series again. Key events and players from that year are highlighted in the text.
Written by professional soccer player, Jeff Attinella, the story tells of loyal baseball fans, dedicated players, a positive coach (Joe Maddon), and a general manager (Theo Epstein) who eventually led the team to repeated victories in 2016. Illustrations of each named player or staff member are included with their contributions. The narrative is told through rhymed couplets, a form that traditionally uses two lines of rhymed poetry that complete one thought and have the same length and meter.
In this case, however, although the text presents information in a logical order and reveals important details (such as the opposing teams and scores) that will interest sports-minded children, the poetry does not adhere to traditional poetic form. Forced rhyme, slant rhyme, and uneven meter often make the story awkward to read aloud and seem out of sync with the top-notch illustrations and design. The book would be more enjoyable for young readers if the poetry followed the rules for rhymed couplets or if the text told the same story in unrhymed prose.
THE CURSE ENDS: THE STORY OF THE 2016 CHICAGO CUBS presents a beautifully illustrated version of the amazing story about how the Wrigley Field-based professional baseball team overcame the century-long “Curse of the Billy Goat” to win the World Series in 2016.
~Carol Michaels for IndieReader