cover image Honus & Me

Honus & Me

Dan Gutman. HarperCollins, $16.99 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-380-97350-7

Baseball, time travel and magic converge in Gutman's (The Kid Who Ran for President; The Way Baseball Works) joyfully entertaining yarn. Cleaning out his neighbor's attic, gawky 12-year-old Joe Stoshack discovers a mint-condition, T-206 Honus Wagner 1909 baseball card-""the most valuable piece of cardboard in the world."" At first he's thrilled, then he feels guilty about taking the $450,000 card from its rightful owner, the wryly named 100-year-old Miss Young. Before he can conclude his moral deliberations, Joe comes face to face with Honus Wagner himself, who helps him with both his dilemma and his Little League baseball swing, courtesy of the 1909 World Series. Gutman's direct, no-frills writing style and the inclusion of vintage photos of Wagner in his heyday add a nostalgic quality to the book. The author also adds an interesting epilogue about the real Honus Wagner and why readers are extremely unlikely to find one of his baseball cards in anyone's attic. For sports fans who like a snappy plot along with the play-by-play, this novel hits at least a triple. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)