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Barnstormers: Tales of the Travelin’ Nine – Game 3

Review

Barnstormers: Tales of the Travelin’ Nine – Game 3

In August 1899, Griffith, Ruby and Graham Payne and the Travelin’ Nine leave behind their winning ways in Louisville, Kentucky, and take a train to Chicago, Illinois. The Travelin’ Nine baseball team includes the children’s mother, Elizabeth, and eight Spanish-American War veterans who fought side by side with the younsters’ late father, Guy. The team is barnstorming across the United States, challenging local “ballists” to winner-take-all games in order to repay Guy’s debt.

On the train ride from Louisville, Elizabeth confides in Griffith and Ruby, the two older kids, details about the substantial debt owed by their father and Uncle Owen. If the Paynes can’t repay $10,000, Elizabeth fears she could lose her children. Griffith believes he knows who is behind their troubles. Yet his mother refuses to listen to talk about the evil Chancellor and his men, who followed the family in Louisville. Griffith suspects she knows more than she’s admitting and can’t shake the feeling that they’re still being watched.

The movement of the train and his mother’s talk upset Griffith. Unable to sleep, he takes a late-night stroll and bumps into one of the Chancellor’s goons. The man grabs Griffith by the collar and tells him that the Chancellor wants what he has, adding that the Chancellor “always gets what he wants.”

In Chicago, while passing out flyers in Jackson Park, Ruby runs into a stranger who says his name is Preacher Wil. Instead of being afraid of the dark-skinned man with wire-rimmed glasses and two different colored eyes, she feels safe. He calls her “Angel” and promises their paths will cross again.

At the ballpark, Graham does his best to be part of the team. Ruby tries to focus on the game but becomes distracted by events on the field and searching the crowd for Preacher Wil. Griffith also looks for him but with a feeling of dread because he fears he might see the Chancellor and his men.

On game day, “Chicagoland rooters” cheer from the stands, bizarre creatures appear on the field, a beloved member of the Travelin’ Nine falls ill and the Payne children’s magical baseball heats up the action. Game 3 is a must-win for the Travelin’ Nine, but at what cost?

The short chapters, graceful illustrations, eye-appealing layout and fascinating historical tidbits about the game of baseball enhance this young-reader-friendly novel. The suspenseful third installment of the New York Times bestselling series has characters to root for and will enchant young readers who love America’s favorite pastime.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on March 4, 2008

Barnstormers: Tales of the Travelin’ Nine – Game 3
by Loren Long and Phil Bildner

  • Publication Date: March 4, 2008
  • Hardcover: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1416918655
  • ISBN-13: 9781416918653