2/14/14 ** There's a reason why Dan Gutman has so many books in print. I shelve this book with my other "sports" books, but it is about so much more than sports. Eddie's dad has passed away; his mom used to work a minimum wage job, but is fired in the course of the story; and they live in a trailer. When he has an opportunity to make a free-throw shot to win a million dollars - from the owner of the company that fired his mom no less - Eddie and his friend Annie jump on it.
While most of the book is written in first person, there are several times when the narrator, Eddie, speaks directly to the reader. I think this helps build empathy. At the end of the book, the narrator builds suspense by writing for two (short) chapters between when the ball hits the basket and when it... Well, I'll let you read to find out if Eddie made the shot. This is a tale that boys and girls will be able to relate with. You don't have to be a sports fan to cheer on Eddie and Annie as they try to outwit The Fink.
Why read now: I have multiple copies of a wide range of books, and I recently decided to have many of my fourth grade students participate in book clubs with books of their choice. This was one of the choices, and though I'd read it in the past, I needed to re-read it if I was going to have intelligent conversations with my students.