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The Brooklyn Nine Hardcover – March 5, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—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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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gratz (Samurai Shortstop, 2006) builds this novel upon a clever enough conceit—nine stories (or innings), each following the successive generations in a single family, linked by baseball and Brooklyn—and executes it with polish and precision. In the opening stories, there is something Scorsese-like (albeit with the focus on players, not gangsters)  in Gratz’s treatment of early New York: a fleet-footed German immigrant helps Alexander Cartwright (credited with creating modern baseball) during a massive 1845 factory fire; a young boy meets his hero, the great King Kelly, who by age 30 is a washed-up alcoholic scraping by as a vaudeville act. The pace lags a bit in the middle innings, where a talented young girl stars in the WW II–era All-American Girls Baseball League and a card-collecting boy lives in fear of the Russians, Sputnik, and the atomic bomb. But the final two stories provide a flurry of late-inning heroics: a Little League pitcher’s shot at a perfect game told with breathtaking verve; and a neat stitching-together effort to close the book. Each of the stories are outfitted with wide-ranging themes and characters that easily warrant more spacious confines, but taken together they present a sweeping diaspora of Americana, tracking the changes in a family through the generations, in society at large for more than a century and a half, and, not least, in that quintessential American pastime. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (March 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803732244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803732247
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,250,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm the author of a number of books for young readers, including Samurai Shortstop, Something Rotten, Something Wicked, The Brooklyn Nine, Fantasy Baseball, and Starfleet Academy: The Assassination Game. My wife and I are also the authors of the Gratz Industries blog, where we chronicle our attempts to lead creative, productive lives.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. C. Mulhern on May 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
For a non-baseball fan, I sure do read a lot of baseball books. The latest of these is Alan Gratz's The Brooklyn Nine. In 1845 Felix Schneider is a ten-year-old immigrant from Germany. While working to bring the rest of his family over from Germany, he cheers on the NY Knickerbockers. Over 150 years later his great-great-great-great-great grandson, Snider Flint, tracks down the history of a strange baseball bat that belonged to one of Brooklyn's greatest players. Over the 150 years in between we meet nine generations of the Schneider/Snider family, all connected by their love of baseball. The stories are a pleasant mix of history and sport, touching on historical moments like the Civil War, the 1920's mob, the All-American Girls Baseball League, the Cold War, and more. But regardless of the setting, this is a story about baseball and how it connects a family.

Each story stands alone as a single thread that is woven into the family story. I loved every story and my only complaint is that I could read an entire novel about each character. I wanted to know even more about them! But Gratz does a great job of telling each individual's story and pulling you into their life. Baseball is a part of each character's life whether they are a spectator or player. I love that Gratz includes female fans and players as some of the main characters because I have a hard time finding sports books for girls sometimes. I think that The Brooklyn Nine will appeal to boys and girls alike for this reason.

The Brooklyn Nine also appealed to the inner history buff in me. It was fascinating to view some of America's major historical events through the eyes of the Schneider/Snider family. Even better was seeing everyday life through their eyes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kristin Tubb on April 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to admit that one of the only things I know about baseball is that there is no better hot dog on Earth than one eaten in the sunny bleachers of Wrigley Field. But even with my limited knowledge of the sport, I can appreciate the nine stories ("innings") of "The Brooklyn Nine." This novel has it all - humorous stories, like the feisty girl who takes on the local mafioso; heart-wrenching moments, like the boy who realizes his hero isn't what he thought he was; and a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat story following a pitcher as he attempts to throw a perfect game. The historical details are the icing on the cake. A wonderful read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reader McRead on March 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is amazing - it's a novel told in nine short stories, and the coolest part is that the main kid in each story is the son or daughter of the kid from the story before! It starts in 1845 and goes to 2002 - nine generations of one family. Lots of really great baseball and American history told in a very fun way. A must-read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Barrett on March 13, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
. . . although if you love baseball, you will find an added dimension to this original book. The author calls it a novel and it can read that way, or you can see it as nine linked novellas, or as a history of the United States hung on the peg of baseball, or as a history of baseball, or as the story of an American family. I'm sure other readers can think of even more angles from which to view this touching, humorous, thought-provoking work.

Alan Gratz's clear authorial voice comes through strongly in each section, yet each has a different tone. He has a remarkable ability to develop his characters in a short space, and each of them is utterly engaging. The depth of his knowledge of and research about baseball is staggering, yet the reader never feels as though the author is teaching a lesson. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bosreviewer on April 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
My 10-year son old reads lots of books. Once in awhile, he says "Dad, you have to read this." You should read it, too.

The Brooklyn Nine takes you through 9 generations of an american family and their experiences with immigration, war, racism, and emotions from loss to feeling perfect.

Baseball is throughout the book but I don't think you'd have to be a fan to enjoy reading it. Sometimes it only has a bit part. Only 1 chapter gets into play-by-play scenarios.

The writer does a great job of introducing history without turning anything into a history lesson - there are no Michael Chriton-type cutouts that explain more detail. The curious reader will have to do their own research, and one of the characters actually does this towards the end.

The storytelling is fast-paced and engaging. You could read it as 9 separate short-stories, but if you're like me or my son, you'll probably read it all the way through!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love, “The Brooklyn Nine.” I bought it on Amazon because someone suggested it to me. You see, I too write, and baseball is my chosen subject. I can’t compare my book to yours except to say that it deals with baseball as it was once played.
I remember Sandy’s perfect game, and when Jackie Robinson came to Wrigley Field for the first time and when the Dodgers left Brooklyn. I was not a Dodger fan, and in fact gloried any time my Cubs managed to hand them their butts. I remember like it was yesterday, seeing that demolition ball painted like a baseball as it crashed into the hallowed walls of Ebbets Field. It was a sad day and I have never totally forgiven the traitors who moved West.
I also recall the worst trade in baseball history when the Cubs gave my boyhood hero, the late, great Andy Pafko, for dead-armed catcher Bruce Edwards and unsteady Eddie Mixes.
But back to the book; I think it’s a textbook, a history book, and a great read for any kid who likes baseball but isn’t that keen on history. I read it in two sittings and now it will be in my young grandson’s bookcase alongside of my novel, “I Weren’t Always a Pitcher.”
Reading this book gave me the same impression folks seemed to have about my book; it’s very easy to tell that the author knows and loves the game.
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