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!
Gutman, 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!