Barnstormers: Three Kids, A Villain, and Great Balls of Fire- By Loren Long and Phil Bildner
The Travelin’ Nine baseball team is still barnstorming across turn-of-the-20th-century America trying to raise money to pay off an enormous debt. Graham, Griffith and Ruby Payne still have that incredible, magic baseball. This time around in Chicago, fireballs, burning bats and a huge kicking cow appear on the field. In this third entry in the series there is more danger from the Chancellor, more magic and more intrigue. Frustrating at times, with characters appearing who might or might not have any impact on the plot, and filled with portends and unanswered questions, it is nevertheless as much fun as the old silent movie serials. Bildner continues to employ just the right level of period syntax and baseball lingo, defining the antiquated terms in sidebars. Long’s unique pen-and-ink illustrations are at once detailed, exaggerated and compelling. Information about the creators is presented in the form of baseball cards, and the schedule of future “games” is shown on a ticket stub on the final page. Tune in next time.