The love of baseball links nine generations of the Schneider/Snider/Flint family in this story collection that tracks the national pastime from the 1840s to the present day. It's an ambitious work of research, weaving authentic details about the evolution of the sport into stories about nine fictional young people with baseball in their DNA. Louis Schneider carries his father's treasured souvenir baseball into battle during the Civil War (Abner Doubleday makes a cameo), trading it for an original Louisville Slugger from a wounded rebel. The bat then plays a role in his son's misplaced worship of a fading legend. Another descendant has his illusions shattered when the hometown team is unmasked as racist. Girls are represented, too: one leaves Brooklyn to play for the Grand Rapids Chicks during World War II. These are not sports stories so much as historical fiction built around a theme, and though billed as a "novel in nine innings," there's no real narrative tension pulling the reader forward. But baseball fans will find satisfying glimpses of the game as it has been played in its various incarnations. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Brooklyn Nineby Alan Gratz
Baseball is in the Schneider family blood. Each member of this family, from family founder Felix Schneider in the 1800s to Snider Flint in the present day, has a strong tie to the game and to Brooklyn. Through the years this family has dodged bullets on a battlefield, pitched perfect games, and dealt with the devastating loss of family and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Nine… See more details below
Baseball is in the Schneider family blood. Each member of this family, from family founder Felix Schneider in the 1800s to Snider Flint in the present day, has a strong tie to the game and to Brooklyn. Through the years this family has dodged bullets on a battlefield, pitched perfect games, and dealt with the devastating loss of family and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Nine inningsùnine generations. One gameùone family. Through it all, one thing remains true: the bonds of family are as strong as a love of the game.
In loosely connected chapters, Gratz examines how one Brooklyn family is affected by the game of baseball. Ten-year-old German immigrant Felix Schneider arrives in America in the mid-19th century and uses his speed to good advantage both on the ball field and as a runner delivering the goods his uncle, a cloth cutter, produces. His fortunes and his family's take a turn for the worse, however, when his legs are badly injured in the great Manhattan fire of 1845 (where he encounters volunteer firefighter Alexander Cartwright, the father of modern baseball). Subsequent "innings" deal with Felix's son, Louis, who has compassion for a Confederate soldier because of their shared love of baseball; Walter Snider, a Brooklyn Superbas batboy who secures a tryout for legendary Negro Leagues star Cyclone Joe Williams and discovers the ugliness of anti-Semitism and racial prejudice; and Jimmy Flint, a 10-year-old in 1957, who worries about the class bully, Sputnik, nuclear annihilation-and the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn. Curiously, the author passes over the team's glory years from the late 1940s to the mid-'50s. For the working-class Schneider/Snider family, baseball is an important part of their history, but it does little to mitigate the gritty reality of their lives. Economic uncertainty, prejudice, and the threat of violence are ever-present concerns, and the accurate, tough-minded depiction of these issues is the novel's greatest strength.-Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT
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