“Willie & Me” by Dan Gutman is a fun imaginative children’s story that presents a lot of baseball history and lore in a fun fashion. The great breezy style that gives a young boy’s perspective on both baseball and life is combined with the fantastical concept of time travel and gives a unique look at the larger-than-life baseball personalities of the past. Certain lesser-known facts are adroitly worked into the story, even as a lesson is provided about the rapidly expanding ripples that can be caused by a single change. I think this is a great way to learn about America’s beloved game, and, although I would have liked to have gotten more in-depth exposure to the great Willie Mays as well as some of the other characters in the story, I enjoyed sharing Stosh’s exciting adventures and scary experiences. Theoretically, this is the last book in the series and there were cameo appearances by the subjects of previous books, but I hope that the author finds more seminal events to chronicle that both educate and entertain.
This addition to the ‘Baseball Card Adventure’ series continues the adventures of Joey (Stosh) Stoshack who uses his time travel talent to experience firsthand baseball’s ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World’. The fateful interaction between Brooklyn Dodgers’ pitcher Ralph Branca and New York Giants’ hitter Boby Thomson clinched the pennant in 1951. As Stosh discovers, there are multiple famous names in baseball who are affected by this game-changing encounter, including the remarkable Willie Mays, and just because one CAN do something, doesn’t necessarily mean it SHOULD be done.
With more than 1.5 million books sold, the Baseball Card Adventures series brings the greatest players in history to life.
Featuring black-and-white photographs and stats throughout, plus back matter separating fact from fiction, Willie & Me is the perfect mix of history and action for every young baseball fan.
Stosh thought he was finished traveling back in time. But then Ralph Branca shows up in his room one night, begging for Stosh's help. In 1951, Branca pitched a ball to Bobby Thomson that would become the "Shot Heard Round the World," a home run that won the National League pennant for the New York Giants and changed the lives of Branca and Thomson forever. Branca says the Giants were cheating, and he needs Stosh to use his power with baseball cards to go back in time and set things right.
Stosh is determined to help, but he quickly learns that you can't change just one little thing in history. If he erases the "Shot Heard Round the World," he may forever alter the life of a young rookie named Willie Mays. With wisdom from all the players he has helped before—plus the surprise return of some familiar faces—Stosh uses his power to travel in time using baseball cards one last time in a fabulous finale to the adventure of a lifetime.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in the English Language Arts
Age Range: 8 - 12 years / Grade Level: 3 - 7