Monday, April 06, 2015

MMGM- Willie and Me

Last week, Picky Reader (who is a junior in high school now) and I went to Universal Orlando to see Harry Potter World. It was quite the trip, as we are intrepid, devoted travelers who got on the first hotel shuttle to the park, might have done a bit of light jogging to be at the beginning of lines, and got into Diagon Alley at 7 a.m. and did not go on the Gringotts ride-- we wandered about while everyone else was in line, so got very rare uncrowded moments at Olivander's, where I might have talked to a shop assistant about getting my wand tuned up, and at Madame Malkin's, where both of us tried on robes. That said, we are lousy at taking pictures, so this one of me impersonating Barney at the VERY deserted Barney World is one of the few. More travel tips later this week. 
Back at work, putting together stuff for my OTES evaluation. A bit of a challenge, but okay.


It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

And it's Opening Day for Major League Baseball! What better way to celebrate than to say goodbye to a series that has been around since Honus and Me, published in 1996. Wow. Almost 20 years! I love these, and they have a loyal following, but twelve books is a lot, even if they're short. This won't stop a few of my baseball fans from having a misty moment in the stacks over this one!


22535305Gutman, Dan. Willie and Me
March 3rd 2015 by HarperCollins
**SPOILER ALERT** Quit reading if you don't want to know!

Stosh's father takes him to a sports memorabilia event, since his father is thinking of getting into the business. The two buy a plaque that has cards for Ralph Branca and Bobby Thomson on it, since the two were involved in "The Shot Heard 'Round the World", when Thomson got a hit off of Branca and the Giants won the National Pennant in 1951 . The two men didn't have very interesting careers otherwise and would have sunk into obscurity otherwise. When Branca travels through time (thanks to a hint from a teammate Stosh had visited), he asks Stosh to come back and undo the events of the day so that he wouldn't be forever considered the guy who lost the game. Stosh is unsure about whether messing about in the past is a good idea, even though he had taken his coach, Flip, back to the past where he had met his wife Laverne. It doesn't help that Flip has fallen at practice and broken a hip, and his chances are not good. When Stosh goes to the past, just to watch the game, mid you, he finds out that Leo Durocher is actually cheating, and Branca doesn't deserve what happens. Of course, Bobby Thomson also appeals to Stosh, since that hit was the only highlight of his career. When Stosh decides that Branca deserves a break because of the cheating, he finds out that Willie Mays, who was on deck when the game concluded, drops out of baseball after his first and only season because he didn't do well when he had to hit. Stosh can't see condemning Mays to lifelong obscurity working in a laundry (and dying in 1970), so figures out a way that the Branca/Thomson interchange will still go as planned. (Highlight for spoiler) When Flip passes away, Stosh decides he is done messing with the past, and even though Flip leaves him with a lot of cards, he is content to stay in the present. 
Strengths: The history in these is always good, and the vehicle for time travel great. Stosh's previous journeys being remembered is a very fun part of this. I love that the books are short and accessible to elementary and middle grade students. Hope these stay in print for a long time.
Weaknesses: Stosh's great uncle is 100? Seems like a problem with ages, but okay.
What I really think: While I will miss these, I am always happy to see something new by Gutman and can't wait to see what wonderful thing he will write next!


16 comments:

Kay said...

I have heard of Gutman's series, but I haven't read any. It looks like I have some catching up to do with 12 books!

Stacey (@libraryjo92) said...

Glad you had a great time a Universal! I love the Baseball Card series from Dan Gutman. They always seem to be popular in my library.

Jennifer Schultz said...

Oh I had no idea that Baseball Card Adventures was ending (and that it's been around for so long). I recommend this series all the time!

Greg Pattridge said...

Harry Potter World is fantastic so I'm glad you got to visit. I also love this series of historical sports books. The pages almost turn by themselves. Baseball has returned!

Cheriee Weichel said...

Dan Gutman is always a popular read in my library, but we don't have one in this series. While I love to read books about baseball, it isn't a sport that really takes off in my Canadian school library. Give me hockey, soccer, and basketball though... I will have to try one and see if I can honestly pitch it.

Rosi said...

I've read a couple of this series and loved them. Sorry to hear the series is ending, but it was inevitable. Thanks for this post.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Dan Gutman is a one-man writing machine! What's he up to now? Must be at least 110 books, or 120. And although these Baseball Card Adventure books were always popular when I worked at the bookstore, I never read one (I've read a couple of My Weird School books, and some of the stand-alone MG novels).

My sons were in Harry Potter world two weeks ago. They said the lines were incredibly long.

LInda Baie said...

This series sounds good, although a little young for my students I will share the info, Karen. It sounds like fun to go to Harry Potter world-I think my wand could use a little adjustment!

Crystal Brunelle said...

I haven't read any of this series. I'll have to look for it. I so want to go to see Harry Potter world. It's on my bucket list.

Michael G-G said...

You are intrepid!

I've not read much Dan Gutman--but as Joanne says above, he is amazingly prolific!

Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye) said...

Should have waved while you were Orlando :) I haven't even been to Harry Potter world yet! I need to get over there!
Love a good baseball book! I hadn't realize there was a new Gutman one.

Happy reading this week! :)

Suzanne Warr said...

I like the vehicle of time-taveling to explore history, and this one sounds like a good one. Thanks for the heads up!

Daniel Johnston said...

I heard about Willie and Me, I'm glad you thought it was good. I stopped reading the series after Roberto and Me, when the book suddenly devolved into a political monologue. But Gutman is without a doubt a very good and funny writer, and I really liked some of the earlier baseball travel books.

Ms. Yingling said...

The Roberto and Me book was...unusual. I guess we all have moments!

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

A trip to Harry Potter World seems like a journey that avid bibliophiles should have at least once in their lifetime. Willie & Me sounds like one of my gap reads (sports) - will definitely have to check that one out.

Iron Guy Carl said...

There's a BARNEY WORLD in Orlando??? Weird, weird, weird.

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