The Last Man’s Reward


Albert Whitman & Company, 1996

When a chance yard-sale purchase nets five boys a Willie Mays rookie card worth $4,000, their lives seem to narrow and intensify.

The boys devise a “last man” contest—the winner gets the Mays card, and losers get zip.

Twelve-year-old Albert has a life-and-death reason for winning the card—and his own special terrors about the abandoned mine where the boys have hidden the card for safe keeping. Just how far is Albert willing to go to be the last man?

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“The strong characterizations and an airtight plot make (for) … a truly exciting adventure.”  —Booklist

“(David) shows that suspense is possible without … outright villainy, and that reading about good people who do right is just as satisfying as reading about bad people getting their just deserts.”  —Kirkus Reviews

“Suspense, adventure, and a daring last-minute rescue will keep readers engaged throughout.”  —The Horn Book Guide

“Patneaude has captured youth at its best and offers us a hopeful look at the world. His imagery and dialogue also makes this a true work of art.”  —Children’s Literature


  • 1997 Books for the Teen Age, New York Public Library
  • 1999-2000 Volunteer State Book Award Master List (TN)
  • 1999-2000 Iowa Children’s Choice Awards Master List
  • 1999 Sasquatch Reading Award Master List (WA)
  • 1999 Utah Children’s Book Award Master List
  • 2001 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award Master List (IL)