A captivating blend of fact and fantasy.
Gutman spins a delightful tale.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Baseball, time travel and magic converge in Gutman's (The Kid Who Ran for President; The Way Baseball Works) joyfully entertaining yarn. Cleaning out his neighbor's attic, gawky 12-year-old Joe Stoshack discovers a mint-condition, T-206 Honus Wagner 1909 baseball card-"the most valuable piece of cardboard in the world." At first he's thrilled, then he feels guilty about taking the $450,000 card from its rightful owner, the wryly named 100-year-old Miss Young. Before he can conclude his moral deliberations, Joe comes face to face with Honus Wagner himself, who helps him with both his dilemma and his Little League baseball swing, courtesy of the 1909 World Series. Gutman's direct, no-frills writing style and the inclusion of vintage photos of Wagner in his heyday add a nostalgic quality to the book. The author also adds an interesting epilogue about the real Honus Wagner and why readers are extremely unlikely to find one of his baseball cards in anyone's attic. For sports fans who like a snappy plot along with the play-by-play, this novel hits at least a triple. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Cleaning out his neighbor's attic, a gawky 12-year-old discovers a mint-condition Honus Wagner 1909, $450,000 baseball card. In this addition to the Baseball Card Adventures series, baseball, time travel and magic converge for, in PW's words, a "joyfully entertaining yarn that hits at least a triple." Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Joe Stoshack is cleaning an old attic when he finds a baseball card of Honus Wagner, long considered the game's greatest player. Before you can say "play ball" Joe is transported back to 1909 and is being coached on hitting by Wagner himself. Pair this book with for "Jackie and Me," another engaging blend of fantasy and fact, this time featuring Jackie Robinson.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Joe just can't seem to ignore the taunts of other ballplayers, and his batting average is the pits. Filled with gloom, he really believes his life is at its nadir. Then, Joe does a good deed for his elderly neighbor, Miss Young, and is truly rewarded. He discovers a Honus Wagner baseball card in mint condition while cleaning Miss Young's attic. The card transports him back in time to the 1909 World Series where he meets Honus, substitutes for him in a game, learns how to believe in himself, and reunites Miss Young with her long lost boyfriend, Honus. Farfetched indeed, but fun to read whether or not you are a baseball fan. Gutman provides facts as well as black and white photos to augment his entertaining story.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6An intriguing time-travel novel. While 12-year-old Joe Stoshack is cleaning out Miss Young's attic for spending money, he finds the world's most valuable baseball card, picturing Honus Wagner. Joe wrestles with the thought of telling Miss Young about his discovery and of returning it to her. But she had instructed him to throw out all the junk in the attic, and he knows the money raised from selling the card would help his single mother. That night, Joe wakes up to see Wagner in his bedroom, and they eventually travel back in time to the 1909 World Series. Gutman includes plenty of factual baseball information in this short novel. An appendix helps readers sort out fact from fantasy. Most young baseball-card collectors will have heard about the famous Honus Wagner cards, one of which was sold in 1991 for almost half-a-million dollars, making the premise of the story familiar. Black-and-white photos of Wagner and the series, although sometimes dark or grainy, add authenticity to the book. An enjoyable escape into another decade.Blair Christolon, Prince William Library, Manassas, VA
When baseball nut Joe Stoshack, 12, finds a mint condition Honus Wagner baseball card, he discovers that it is more than the world's most valuable card: It is also a granter of wishes and a time-travel portal, through which Wagner visits him in the present, and Joe goes to the 1909 World Series. Thoroughly researched and illustrated with black-and-white period photographs of Wagner, this delightful story is hardly marred by the gratuitous subplot involving an attempt to steal the card. In the meantime, Joe lives out the dream of millions of kids: He befriends the greatest player ever, is coached by him until he becomes a top-notch player himself, learns a few life lessons along the way, and gets to play in the majors. A good fantasy for any baseball fanatic, this includes an author's note, information on the baseball card, Wagner's career stats, and his tips for kids.
Read an Excerpt
Honus & Me
A Baseball Card Adventure
Chapter One "Hey! Elephant ears! When you walk down the street, Stoshack, you look like a taxicab with both doors open!"
The words burned in my ears, which do stick out a little from my head, I must admit.
I was at the plate. It was two outs in the sixth inning, and I was the last hope for the Yellow Jackets. We were down by a run, and the bases were empty. Their pitcher was only eleven, but he'd already whiffed me twice.
That crack about my ears threw me off, just enough so that I tipped the ball instead of hitting it with the meat of my bat. That was strike two.
Behind me, I could hear some of the kids on my team already packing up their equipment to go home. There wasn't much chance that I was going to smack one out of the park. I hadn't hit one out of the infield all season.
It's not that I'm not strong. My arms are really big, and people tell me my chest is broader than any other seventh grader they've seen. I'm short for a twelve year-old and a little stocky.
I'm actually a pretty good ballplayer. But those insults really get to me. The last time up, I struck out when they said my legs looked like a pair of parentheses. You know-(). Bowlegged? I guess I'm kinda funny-looking. If I wasn't me, I'd probably be making fun of me, too.
Nobody likes to make the last out. I sure didn't want to strike out looking at the last pitch whiz past me. I was ready to swing at just about any thing. The pitcher went into his windup again, and I stood ready at the plate. The pitch looked good, and I brought back my arms to take a rip at it.
"Hey Stoshack!" their shortstop shouted as the ballleft the pitcher's hand, "Is that your nose or a door knocker?" I'd never heard that one before. It threw off my timing. It felt like a good swing, but I hit nothing As usual.
"Steeerike threeeeeeeeeeeee!" the ump yelled as the ball smacked into the catcher's mitt.
Again. My third strikeout of the game. Did I swing over it? Under it? Too early? Too late? I couldn't even tell. All I know is that I wanted to shrivel up and fade away. The other team hooted with glee. Even some of my teammates were snickering. Honus & Me
A Baseball Card Adventure. Copyright © by Dan Gutman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.