Most helpful positive review
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Exactly the kind of book I would want to read if I were a kid
on July 18, 2010
Dan Gutman's Baseball Card Adventure books make for great reading, especially for those in the target audience of ages 10-14. I have to believe that most boys still entertain dreams of playing in the Major Leagues, so these books serve as a great hook for introducing the joy of reading to even the most reluctant of young readers. Not only do these books allow the reader to learn more about some true legends of the game, they also offer mini-history lessons on the times in which those players played. In this case in particular, readers are also exposed to an extraordinary role model who played the game the way it was supposed to be played and also devoted his life to making the world a better place.
Roberto Clemente has been called baseball's last great hero. He was a great hitter and a truly exceptional outfielder who left an indelible mark in the record books. He also helped pave the way for Latin American players in the Major Leagues. Above all else, though, he was a great humanitarian, which is why baseball's highest honor for community service is named for him. His life came to a tragic end on December 31, 1972, when he was killed in a plane crash attempting to deliver much-needed aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
After learning of a personal connection between his Spanish teacher and Roberto Clemente, Joseph "Stosh" Stoshack decides to go back in time and warn Clemente not to board the doomed flight. Stosh, you see, has the unique ability to travel through time by way of baseball cards. All he needs is to get his hands on a Clemente card, and he will be transported back to the year of the card. In this case, he ends up with more of an adventure than he bargained for when he is transported to Woodstock just in time to hear Jimi Hendrix's legendary performance. Hitching a ride with some hippies to Cincinnati, he learns about the anti-war movement and goes on his first date (with a girl who is rather hilariously clueless about the game of baseball) to see Clemente and the Pirates take on the Reds. But will he get a chance to meet Clemente? And can he convince # 21 not to board that fateful plane on New Year's Eve of 1972?
I really enjoyed reading this book, and I have to say I learned a lot about Roberto Clemente's life and legacy in the process. I have to admit that I was a little turned off when the author chose to introduce a wholly unrelated political agenda (complete with the standard scare tactics associated with it) toward the end of the story, but the rest of the book is too good for me to give it any less than five stars. I doubt that baseball cards are as integral a part of childhood these days as they were for me, but I have no doubt that many young boys - and more than a few young girls - will love this book and yearn to read more of the growing number of books in Gutman's Baseball Card Adventures series.