Monday, June 02, 2014

Review: Satch and Me

I know few, if any baseball players, but whenever I walk into Nationals Park I smile when I walk by the Josh Gibson statue. Over a year ago now, our 8 year old Foster Son and I listened to Satch and Me on CD, which recounts the stories of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson (apparently, bitter rivals). We both walked away from that book learning that Paige was one of the all time great pitchers of the game, and Gibson was one of the all time great hitters.

Out of curiosity, I searched my blog for the 'review' I had written about Satch Me to refresh my memory of the book. Alas, I couldn't find it. Apparently, I didn't write one. So, I'm writing one now.

Satch and Me is part of a series written by Dan Gutman, where hero of the story has the ability to transport back in time by touching specific baseball cards. As premises go, it's an odd one, but it opens the door for Gutman to teach us about the life and times of a baseball player. And boy does it work.

Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson both played for the Negro League in the 30's and 40's, which means that their Life and Times was one filled with racial injustice. Gutman manages to expose the reader to this at a level an 8 year old can appreciate. In fact, there's quite a bit in the book for a kid to learn from all without knowing they are learning. There's obviously the racial angle, and a sense of how the Negro League operated, but there's a positive example of an older coach who's able to connect with and guide the hero of the story. All in all, the messaging of the book is quite solid, all while being a fun read (or in our case, listen). Apparently, Satchel Paige was quite the character, and this comes through in the book as well. I especially appreciated that the book contained an epilogue that clearly explained which parts of the story are and aren't real (spoiler alert: the time travel isn't.).

If you look at the Amazon Reviews for the book, you'll see a number of parents chime in about how their non-reader kids enjoyed the book so much. And I can see that, it's a fun little adventure story you'll want your kids to read.

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