Million Dollar Shot (Hardcover) by Dan Gutman. Hyperion, 1st edition 1997. ISBN: 9780786803347. pp: 120. Ages: 9-12, gr: 3-6
Paperback (September 1, 2006) ISBN: 9781423100843, pp: 128



Eleven-year-old Eddie Ball and his mother are going through some difficult times after the death of Eddie’s father. But things get interesting for Eddie when he meets Annie and her father who almost played on a professional basketball team. Then, well, in the words of Dan Gutman himself:
This novel is about a boy who wins a poetry contest and gets the chance to take a foul shot in the middle of the NBA finals and win a million dollars. To make it real, I consulted with Dr. Tom Amberry, who sank 2,750 foul shots without a miss. Many kids have told me this is my best book.


  1. Steps for shooting foul shots are described on pages 48-52. Make a chart using this title, "Basketball - Foul Shot". List the steps. Choose another sport to make a similar list describing how to do something in that sport.

  2. Survey the favorite snack food of members of your class. Make a graph to show the results.

  3. Use the pull-down menus at Ask for Kids to find the biography of Annie Oakley and Susan B Anthony. Which person is the most interesting to you? Why?

  4. Annie mentions the Welsh poet Dylen Thomas. Is he an American? Want to know more about Dylen Thomas?

  5. This book is a first person narrative. What does that mean? Have you read any other book that is told in the first person?

  6. Explore Dan Gutman’s website. Which of his other books would you like to read?

  7. Name the town and state where Eddie lives. Is this a real or fictional place?

  8. What does e’er mean? Annie quoted the line, "O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave" from what? Find other unusual contractions.

  9. The word "shot" is a good one for exploring multiple meanings.
    • Find the two meanings of the word on page 8.
    • What other meanings for the word can you think of?
    • Define hotshot (also on bottom of page 8)
    • Explain the difference between a jumper and set shot. (pages 45-46)

  10. What percentage did Eddie shoot in these practices? Which was his best percentage?
    • June 12, last practice before trip: 71 out of 100
    • June 13, at the hotel - morning: 79 out of 100
    • June 13, at the hotel - afternoon: 85 out of 100
    • June 14, morning: 270 out of 300
    • June 14, afternoon: 92 out of 100
  11. Eddie took 500 foul shots a day. Time how long it takes to shoot a foul shot and get the ball back. About how long would it take to shoot 500 foul shots? How many total hours would Eddie spend shooting foul shots over the three weeks?

  12. Eddie makes some interesting discoveries about money, banking, and interest on page 22. Discover more about banking and interest at Kids Bank.

  13. Eddie questions the information about Finkles on the box. Even with "Truth in Advertising" laws, there are still tricks that advertisers can use.

  14. O-T-T-O is a palindrome (page 78). Unscramble each of these sets of letters to make a palindrome.
    • ddeerr
    • ciciv
    • otror
    • veell
    • caercra (two words)
    • What is the next year that is a palendrome?
    • Can you unscramble these letters to make a question that is also a palindrome?
      T A R S W A I T R I S A W A C C A

  15. Three possible endings to the story are given in Chapter 16.
    • How could the first ending have been used and still have satisfied the reader?
    • How has the author kept the "real" ending from being too predictable or sappy?
  16. Could an eleven-year-old own a company?

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The Million Dollar Shot. Accelerated Reader: Quiz #26736 EN; Book Level 4.2; Points= 3.0
Reading Counts: Reading Level 4.8; Points= 5.0
Lexile Level 680

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