Great Balls of Fire (Sluggers 3)

6:00 AM Posted by Lori Calabrese

Every pitcher who's ever hurled one over the plate has wished they were firing a missile--or better yet, a fireball. In Great Balls of Fire (Sluggers), the third book in the Sluggers series, the pitcher of the Travelin' Nine is doing just that, but why?

There are many questions that need answers as The Travelin' Nine are still barnstorming their way across the good ol' U. S. of A. to help pay off a substantial debt incurred by Uncle Owen. This time, the team heads to Chicago with a 1-1 record.

In Sluggers! 2, the team managed to spit out a win as the kids began to learn that the baseball their Uncle Owen had given to them on the night of their father's funeral was magical. Doc and Woody came through with timely fielding, Crazy Feet and Tales smacked clutch hits, and champion horses provided that extra kick, helping the barnstormers to their come-from-behind victory.

In this installment,Griffith is convinced more than ever that Uncle Owen owes money to the Chancellor and has a run-in with one of his men on the train, who states that the Chancellor "wants what you have."

Ruby also has an encounter with a mysterious stranger, and even though she doesn't know why, she knows that he will change the Travelin' Nine.

And Graham launches a towering shot out of the park when he thinks no one is looking. Unfortunately, the wrong eyes may have seen what the youngest Payne can do with a baseball.

As the Travelin' Nine take the field, the kids know it's time for all of them to place their hands on the magic ball. Their fears and worries continue to grow, wondering who's watching. But because of the baseball, this time, strange things begin to happen on the field that reference the Great Chicago Fire. Even a gigantic cow appears on the field--could they use it to their advantage?

The mystery deepens at the end of the book when Griffith has an encounter with the Chancellor who confirms that he wants something and also has something Griffith wants. What could they possibly be?

Bildner and Long have done it again with another mysterious, fun, and action-packed book! Out of the first three books of the series, this is my favorite because, as answers begin to unfold, the action reaches an escalated level. My heart was pounding as Griffith came face to face with the Chancellor and I'm dying to find out what the Chancellor has that Griffith wants. I thought the references to the Great Chicago Fire were phenomenal along with the old baseball lingo that continues to inform us in the margins.

Read my reviews of:
Magic in the Outfield (Sluggers 1) and
Horsin' Around (Sluggers 2)

Additional Information:
Author: Phil Bildner
Author/ Illustrator: Loren Long
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (April 14, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1416918892
ISBN-13: 978-1416918899
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