From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-- Andy Harris' baseball-card collection, inherited from his recently deceased father, contains some valuable items, including a 1952 Mickey Mantle card worth $2500. He's willing, however, to trade Mantle for a 25-cent card that pictures his grandfather, Jim "Ace 459" Harris, whom Andy idolizes. Grampa doesn't care much about old baseball cards--"paper heroes" he calls them. It's not until Grampa coaches Andy that he learns why the relationship between his father and grandfather was strained; Grampa demands that his players "play to win," something Andy's father wasn't tough enough to do and something Andy can't do at the expense of friendship. In addition to the trading and stealing involved in acquiring the card, the story tries to address issues of father/son relationships, including the divorce, remarriage, and death of Andy's father, and the grandfather's upcoming medical test. The plot gets bogged down by these issues, using many flashbacks and one awkward recapping of a crucial scene during which Andy (who narrates the rest of the book) is absent. Lightly veiled hints about the "win at all costs" nature of Grampa's coaching appear throughout the story, but Andy simply doesn't see them. Most of the sports action is confined to playing catch with Grampa and one climactic practice; the card collecting may appeal only to to die-hard baseball fans who will recognize players from the past and contemporary stars. --Susan Schuller, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Alfred Slote is the author of over thirty books, most of them for young people. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.