Sarah's Stars

Loren Long and Phil Bildner. Barnstormers: Game One
Simon & Schuster  $11.99  ISBN 978-1-4169-1863-9  136 pg.
Reviewed by Meghan, Age 15

Graham quickly placed his hand over his brother’s and sister’s.

“Like this?” he asked.

“Make sure your fingertips are on the ball,” Griffith instructed.

This ritual wasn’t something Griffith, Ruby and Graham had ever agreed on; it was something that they just started doing. At the start of each baseball game, they would all hold the baseball. It was a showing of togetherness, a reminder that they were still a family, even though their father was no longer with them.

It felt right.

Together the three Payne children looked out at the field and the band of baseball players they had come to know so well.

Now what?” Graham asked in a voice barely above a whisper.

“Now,” Ruby answered, “now I guess we watch and wait.”

Ruby, Graham and Griffith Payne are members of the Traveling Nine, a ‘barnstormer’ baseball team that travels around the country challenging other baseball teams in an attempt to raise money. Although the reason why they are raising money is never explained it has something to do with their father’s death and the old baseball he left them, with a curious hole in it about the size of an acorn. Soon after they receive the baseball, strange things start happening during the Traveling Nine’s baseball games. Can Ruby, Graham and Griffith figure out the mystery of the baseball?

Barnstormers: Game One was quite different from any other book I’ve read. It was an easy read, with large font, simple language and packed full of baseball terminology. I found that the notes in the margins explaining exactly what the terms meant were too numerous. At the beginning it was interesting to find out what things meant, but I found that as the book went on, it became repetitive, taking away from the flow of the book.

I would also warn readers that Barnstormers is a mystery story and that it is a cliff-hanger. Although I enjoyed reading the story, it was only a beginning and by that I mean that unlike most other stories with a beginning, middle and end, it got the ball rolling and then ended. Altogether, the story didn’t really stand up on its own. It will definitely need two or three other books to complete the story and make it an interesting read.

I would recommend Barnstormers: Game One to boys and girls between the ages of eight and eleven. Beginning readers could easily read Barnstormers with only a bit of assistance.

I’d give Barnstormers: Game One three and one-half stars.


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