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Sluggers #6: Home of the Brave

Review

Sluggers #6: Home of the Brave

As the Payne children and the barnstormers prepare to leave New Orleans, the Chancellor’s thugs carry out a vicious and deadly attack. During a hail of gunfire, Truman, the brave dog of Preacher Wil, is injured while trying to protect Ruby, Graham and Griffith. While bullets fly, the magic baseball saves Graham’s life, just as it saved Uncle Owen during the war in Cuba. By the end of the attack, the Chancellor’s men have snatched the magic baseball, and Uncle Owen’s luck has run out. His dying words puzzle and confuse the young Paynes.

With the Chancellor’s men still in pursuit, the Payne family and the barnstormers hop a train and head for Baltimore to bury Uncle Owen. Now that the Chancellor has the baseball, he believes he controls the destiny of the game --- and still demands payment for Uncle Owen’s debt. While grieving for the loss of their uncle, the children must come up with $10,000 by the end of the month, and they are one player short. After switching trains one morning in the nation’s capital, they take a chance and emerge from the station. As they walk down the streets and take in the sights, a familiar figure emerges from the fog. They have found their ninth player.

Their match is to be held at Union Park against the Baltimore Bombers in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the national anthem. But the evil and greedy Chancellor doesn’t want to lose, so he has assembled a team with half of the Bombers coming from the Baltimore Orioles. While promoting the game, Graham meets a young player with exceptional gifts. On the day of the game at Union Park, flags flare, rockets glare and bombs blast through the air, but even more shocking and thrilling events await the team.

As with the previous five books in the series, each chapter begins with a graceful and clever illustration, and old-fashioned baseball terms are thoughtfully explained in the margins. As a welcome addition, events from baseball and American history are woven into the plot, as is a gentle message of faith, forgiveness, redemption and second chances. HOME OF THE BRAVE is the final --- and most dramatic --- book in Loren Long and Phil Bildner’s six-part series, with surprising twists and turns, and a satisfying ending that should appeal to young readers who love the magic and mystery of baseball.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on February 22, 2011

Sluggers #6: Home of the Brave
by Loren Long and Phil Bildner

  • Publication Date: February 22, 2011
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1416918922
  • ISBN-13: 9781416918929