Review: The Curse Ends by Jeff Attinella, Illustrated by Mike Pascale

★★★★★ The Curse Ends by Jeff Attinella

The Curse Ends: The Story of the 2016 Chicago Cubs, written by Jeff Attinella, is a great bedtime read that will be a source of inspiration for future Little Leaguers, as well as inspire a love of the great American pastime.

In rhyming prose, this charming children’s books tells the story of the Chicago Cubs “curse” and how they beat the curse in 2016. The year is 1945 and it’s game four of the World Series. A man wants to buy a seat for his Billy goat but the crowd protests and they’re kicked out of the stadium, leading the irate man to prophetically proclaim that the Chicago Cubs will never win again. This begins the Cubs’ streak of bad luck that will be dubbed “The Curse of the Billy Goat.”

“Don’t let that smelly goat in!” the people did shout.
So the two were stopped at the gate and booted right out!
“You will never win again!” the man proclaimed aloud,
and thus “The Curse of the Billy Goat” fell over the crowd.

Decade after decade, the man’s curse holds true until finally, it’s the 2016 baseball season. The Cubs leave the Giants, Dodgers, Indians and all the other teams floundering in their wake, and  the team known as The Lovable Losers has made a miraculous comeback before going on to gloriously win the 2016 World Series, finally breaking The Curse of the Billy Goat.

That smelly billy goat would curse them no more,
thanks to a 10th inning win, eight to seven the score!
It was finally over, a feeling that they couldn’t believe,
the Cubs were World Champions, the year – 2016!

Attinella tells the story of that World Series with exciting pitch-by-pitch description. There are so many elements to Attinella’s book that give it both substance as well as entertainment value. It’s a story about America’s favorite pastime, but also has a fair share of drama in the decades-long Billy goat curse. It also has a lovable underdog in the form of the Chicago Cubs and most important of all, it establishes a goal – to break the curse through hard work, showing that you should never give up no matter what’s happened before.

Pascale’s illustrations convey a variety of action and movement as well as a wealth of emotion – from utmost despair, to profound bewilderment, to ecstatic joy, all with a few seemingly simple strokes and the use of effective shading. Vivid bursts of color also assist in conveying mood of each character, and the joy of both players and fans really comes to life.

As a young child’s first reading book, The Curse Ends offers age-appropriate vocabulary that will keep a child engaged. Thanks to its detailed illustrations, it also invites participation from a young audience in identifying numbers, letters of the alphabet, and colors. All in all, it’s a fun and funny children’s book that kids will want to return to again and again, especially young fans of the Cubs.

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