Author: Dan Gutman
Title: Jackie & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure
Publication Info: New York : Avon Books, ©1999.
This is the second book in the Baseball Card Adventure in which Joe Stoshack uses his power to travel through time using baseball cards to meet Jackie Robinson. As an added wrinkle to the story, he initially arrives in 1947 as an African-American boy and directly experiences the racial animus of New York at that time. I felt that Jackie Robinson’s character in this novel was one-dimensional, too much of a heroic martyr, although the book does offer some nice glimpses of his family life. Meanwhile, it seems too flippant that Stosh is traveling to meet Robinson merely to write a Black History Month report for his school, and spends much of the novel trying to gather rare baseball cards to bring to the future. The lesson of the book is how to stand up to bullies without resorting to anger, which Stosh applies in his own youth baseball games, but seems to miss out on the heart of the Jackie Robinson story in the process.
Author: Dan Gutman
Title: Ted & me: A Baseball Card Adventure
Publication Info: New York : Harper, c2012.
Joe Stoshack is a kid who can travel in time by touching baseball cards which take him to the time and place of the player in the photo. In this installment of the series, the FBI learns of his ability and send an agent to convince him to go back in time to warn Franklin Roosevelt of the Pearl Harbor attack and prevent the United States entry into World War II. The person to help Stosh on this mission is Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, an appropriately patriotic figure who gave up five seasons of his career to serve in WWII and the Korean War. The characterization of Williams is well done since it captures a person who could be alternately an abrasive jerk and good-humored and generous. Williams is also impulsive enough to take Stosh under his wing, and after finishing up the season in Philadelphia ensuring his .406 batting average, takes Stosh on a road trip. There are a few stops along the way which I won’t spoil, but add to the characterization of Williams and his bond with Stosh. Obviously, Stosh doesn’t prevent World War II, but it’s interesting to see some of the historic detail through his eyes, including a frightening encounter at an America First rally with supporters of Charles Lindbergh, something you wouldn’t expect to see in a children’s book. It’s a good adventure for kids who are fans of baseball and American history.