Game 2 (Barnstormers Series #2)

Game 2 (Barnstormers Series #2)

5.0 1
by Loren Long, Phil Bildner

The year is 1899, and the Travelin' Nine are crisscrossing the good ol' U.S. of A., raising money to pay off the Payne family's big-league debt!

As the team heads into the River City, Griffith is beginning to realize that there's more at risk than meets the eye, something beyond the need to raise money -- something involving the ball that could put his…  See more details below


The year is 1899, and the Travelin' Nine are crisscrossing the good ol' U.S. of A., raising money to pay off the Payne family's big-league debt!

As the team heads into the River City, Griffith is beginning to realize that there's more at risk than meets the eye, something beyond the need to raise money -- something involving the ball that could put his entire family in danger.

Ruby is eager to help solve the mystery of the ball and plans on keeping her eyes and ears wide open and writing everything down. She knows the answer is out there. All she has to do is see the things that others don't. And figure out what those things mean.

Then there's Graham, who usually only thinks about how to get more time on the baseball field. Even he's beginning to notice that there are strange and shady characters at just about every turn.

Finally there's the Chancellor, one of the wealthiest and greediest businessmen in the entire world. And it looks like he's got his eye on the ball!

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 3-6- As this book opens, Ruby and her older brother, Griffith, are on a steamboat on the Ohio River in 1899, reading a mysterious letter from their uncle. "Beware the Chancellor. He mustn't learn of the baseball." The children and their seven-year-old brother, Graham, are on the road with the Travelin' Nine, a baseball team made up of Rough Riders touring the country to raise money. The next stop is an exhibition game in Louisville, KY. The siblings have a baseball from their deceased father; when they hold it at the same time, horses appear on the field, but only the kids and the team can see them. It turns out that these horses are past Kentucky Derby winners and their help enables the team to win the game. The story uses baseball terminology freely, with definitions in the margins; there's also quite a bit of historical detail about Louisville and the Kentucky Derby that may interest some readers. Energetic illustrations-including spreads and full-page drawings-add to the story. The novel is written in the old-fashioned serial format, to the point that it's hard for readers to understand what's going on if they've missed the first installment. Baseball fans will love the book, but make sure to have the first one handy.-Diana Pierce, Leander High School, TX

Kirkus Reviews
In order to raise money to pay off an enormous debt, Griffith, Graham, Ruby and their mother are barnstorming with the Travelin' Nine, a baseball team made up of their late father's friends from the Rough Riders. There are cryptic messages, a possible enemy, the obligatory cliffhanger and a magic baseball that seems to be responsible for astounding events that only the children and their team can see. This time, when the children grip the ball, thoroughbred horses, all Kentucky Derby winners, appear and have an effect on the outcome of the game. This second installment in the series is superior to the first in that it is better organized, with more fully developed structure and characters. Long and Bildner again incorporate the language and atmosphere of turn-of-the-20th-century baseball into their work, defining baseball slang via entries in the side margins. Highly detailed black-and-white drawings illustrate the events and capture the fantasy, and a miniature baseball vignette forms the first letter of each chapter. Bring on game three. (Fiction. 8-10)

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Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Barnstormers Series, #2
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt


Ruby stood by the ship's boiler and removed Uncle Owen's letter from the tattered envelope. The tips of her fingers tingled.

She already knew what it said. But now she was seeing the words with her own eyes.

Beware the Chancellor

Ruby knew who the Chancellor was. Everybody who lived anywhere near Washington, D.C., in 1899 knew who the Chancellor was. He was a businessman who craved only money and power. But no one wanted to do business with him. Everyone tried to steer clear of the Chancellor; everyone avoided crossing his path. He was someone the grown-ups spoke of with hushed voices, which was the reason all the kids at school talked about him the way they did. They had made him something of a legend. Some even said he had evil powers, but Ruby and Griffith had never believed those claims.

"There had to have been more," Ruby said to her older brother, who stood by the engine room door. "Maybe another page."

Griffith peeked down the corridor to make sure no one was coming and then nodded. "That's what I think too."

When the letter had arrived, Griffith's heart had skipped a beat. What had happened to it? Tattered. Crinkled. Smudged. Even partially opened. How did it get that way? It looked as though it had been through a war.

Just like their baseball.

After examining the smudges more closely, Griffith's fears had deepened. The rust-colored stains looked like blood. Had something happened to Uncle Owen?

Ruby turned the letter over. "What's this?"

"What's what?"

Ruby stepped around the storage containers to Griffith. "I think there'ssomething else written here."

Griffith checked the hall again, then took the paper from his sister. He heldit to the light dangling from the beam above his head and read the tiny inscription scribbled along the edge.

He mustn't learn of the baseball

Griffith's breaths quickened. The beads of sweat, which had already formed at his temples because of the heat, now ran down his cheeks and chin, and along his neck. He quivered, just like he had when he first read the letter only a few hours before back in Cincinnati.

His mind flitted to last autumn, when his mother had taken Ruby and him to the market. As word had spread that the Chancellor and his men were present, Griffith had felt the chill in the air. He could still see the fathers nervously searching the crowd and the mothers holding their little ones closer.

Then Griffith had spotted him. It was only a fleeting glimpse, and for the most part, he was shielded from view by his men. Wearing those perfectly ironed navy suits with the pink pocket squares, they always surroundedhim. The Chancellor was protected, untouchable.

Beneath the man's wide-brimmed hat, Griffith had seen a colorless, almost inhuman face. Like that of a cobra. Then, the Chancellor had turned and plowed through the crowd, an unstoppable force....

Griffith shut his eyes and focused on his breathing, drawing longer breaths through his nose and exhaling them slowly through his mouth, like his mother had taught him. Feelings of panic were not new to Griffith. They used to happen regularly. Especially when he was younger.

"Are you okay?" Ruby rested her hand on her brother's shoulder.

Griffith nodded and opened his eyes. He tilted the paper so that Ruby could read it too.

He had been so stunned by Uncle Owen's warning that he hadn't even thought to turn the letter over and look for more. It was almost as if the words were hiding, trying not to be discovered. Or at least not by everyone. There was something about the handwriting, too. There was no doubt it was Uncle's Owen's, but at the same time, it seemed different.

"How would the Chancellor find out about the baseball?" Ruby asked, running her fingertips over her pocket to reassure herself that the ball was safe.

Griffith wiped the perspiration from his face with his sleeve but didn't reply.

"Does Uncle Owen think he's watching us?" she pressed.

"I'm not sure." The thrum of the ship's engines beat louder in Griffith's head. Were they being followed? Was there a link between the Chancellor and their baseball?

Ruby gestured at the letter, then glanced back toward the door. "What do we tell Graham?"

"We don't."

"But he knows a letter arrived."

"This is Grammy we're talking about. All he thinks about is playing baseball. If we don't mention it, he'll just forget about it."

Ruby nodded. "Listen, I'm heading up on deck. It's too hot in here, and I need to get this into my journal. There's a lot I want to write down."

"I'll head up with you." Griffith picked up his glove. "I promised Grammy we'd have a catch."

Text copyright © 2007 by Phil Bildner and Loren Long

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Meet the Author

#1 New York Times Best Seller LOREN LONG’s illustrations have received two gold medals from the Society of Illustrators and his first picture book, Angela Johnson’s I Dream of Trains, won the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators Golden Kite Award for Illustrations and his inspired interpretation of Walt Whitman’s When I Heard Learn’d Astronomer was a Golden Kite Honor. A much sought after editorial artist whose work has appeared in Times, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and Atlantic Monthly, Loren is widely known for the illustrations in Madonna’s #1 New York Times Best Seller Mr. Peabody’s Apples. And Watty Piper’s The Little Engine That Could. He lives in West Chester, Ohio, with his wife, Tracy, and two young sons, Griffith and Graham.

Phil Bildner is the author of the New York Times bestselling Sluggers! series, the Texas Bluebonnet Award-winning Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy and its companion, The Shot Heard 'Round the World, both illustrated by C. F. Payne; and Twenty-One Elephants, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. His latest picture book is Turkey Bowl, illustrated by C.F Payne. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Game 2 (Barnstormers Series #2) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great to read if you enjoy baseball. It uses a lot of terms from the old days which I have heard a few times before. It is a story about a baseball team that travels to different cities in every book. This is where they get the name Barnstormers. It is also about 3 siblings who hold the key to a mysterious ball.