Here's the basic story. It's 1899 and the Payne family is trwaveling across the counrty. The father didn't come home from the Spanish-American War and Uncle Owen owes $10,000 to the Chancellor, a very bad bad guy. The Payne kids, Graham, Griffith, Ruby, and their mom, have joined the father's fellow veterans to form a baseball team in order to raise the money. The kids have a baseball, the only thing left of their father, which appears to be magical. The Chancellor wants that ball and will do whatever he has to, including kidnapping Graham, the youngest, in order to get it. In this book, the team heads to St. Louis and New Orleans but the Chancellor is, as always, one step ahead of them. He made the St. Louis team cancel their game. How does he always know where they will be? There's a mole on the team! How can they hope to win against the Chancellor and his thugs if someone on their own side is working for the bad guys?
I liked this book a lot but for a very different reason. This book wasn't as suspenseful or exciting as the other four but I liked it every bit as much. That may sound strange, but listen up for a minute. The pace is slower because this books explains a lot of things, like who the mysterious old man with different-colored eyes is or why the Chancellor is so evil. There weren't the turn-the-pages-as-fast-as-you-can thrills in this book until...
...the very last chapter! Because the very last chapter changes EVERYTHING!! Wow! The story turns on the proverbial dime and now the Payne family, if not the whole country, is in more danger than ever! Phil Bildner and Loren Long are masterful storytellers, making me all excited about this book becuase of the very last chapter! What happens? What has made me so excited? There's only one way to find out!! You've got to read it!
Only one problem, though. Well, two, actually. First, this book would be confusing if you hadn't read the others, so it wouldn't be a good place to start. Second, if you started here, you'd miss out on all the excitement of those other four terrific books!
SO HERE'S WHAT I'LL DO:
I'll give a prize package to any boy who can show me he's read all the books. The best way is to write a review of each book as you go. That may seem like a big task, but I'll give everyone all summer (prime baseball season) to do it! OK? The prize package will be a CMLibrary book bag with some cool giveaway stuff and a couple of free books of your choosing. Sound good? Then start reading! The library system has plenty of copies (although the first ones may be under the old Barnstormers label) and you can find them in the J fiction section under the author's name of Long. (Loren Long is actually the illustrator but the library has the books under his name)
So what are you wiaitng for? Get strated and I'll look forward to hearing from you!
PS--The Sluggers have a very cool website. Check it out at ReadSluggers.com
There's alot of good stuff about the books, the authors, and even some original songs! The site also says that the sixth and final book of the seires, Home of the Brave, will come out on May 4. That's les than three weeks!! Woo-hoo!! Or, as the Sluggers would say, HUZZAH!