Date reviewed: 4/5/04 IL 9-12 author’s website with excerpts and teacher guides
Summary: Another in sports time travel series by Gutman. Joe Stoshak travels back in time with the help of a baseball card – this time it’s to 1919 and the Black Sox scandal of Shoeless Joe Jackson. Stoshak wants to travel back for 2 reasons: 1 – to keep Joe from being framed for a crime he didn’t commit, and 2 – to take a picture of his mother’s twin aunt and uncle (the uncle died of influenza). Gripping in the portrayal of the mafia-type threatening behavior from the bad guys, otherwise a simplistic but enjoyable story.
Personal Reaction: Good story, but same-old same-old. Kids who read Gutman will continue to read Gutman.
Points for discussion with children: baseball, corruption/temptation/ethics – correlation with any current events?, sports memorabilia
Possible classroom uses: This may be an enjoyable read aloud, but not correlated to the curriculum unless you were studying that era or perhaps beginning a unit on sports math.
Connections to other books? Any other of Gutman’s baseball card adventure series will do. Matt Christopher will also be a good author choice.
Realia: baseball cleats, bat, ball, mitt, etc.; baseball cards; photographs from era and Shoeless Joe Jackson; empty medication boxes/bottles for flu meds; photograph of fraternal or identical twins from era
Food items connected to story: hot dog, popcorn, *what else did he have in his pockets?