Category Archives: Action

The Missing Book 3: Sabotage

By Margaret Peterson Haddix

Published by Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2010

Another Dare-ing adventure through time with JB, Katherine, and Jonah. Our time traveling trio will try to solve the history mystery of the Roanoke Colony.

Jonah and Katherine are set to take Andrea back in time to merge with her tracer and do what needs to be done to repair the timeline. Their destination is coastal North Carolina around the end of the 16th century where, and when, the Roanoke colony suddenly disappeared. There seems to be a change in the travel plans though when an unknown stranger causes a problem with the elucidator and they don’t get dropped where they should on the timeline. Not only that, but they lose the elucidator and they have no contact with JB. Does he even know where they are? Jonah, Katherine, and Andrea are going to have to figure out how to fix time on their own if they are to have any hope of escape.

Haddix has found a way to mix science fiction and social studies education together in a neat package with “The Missing” series. Many kids aren’t that interested in history itself, but what happens if you time travel and get dropped into the middle of history? Now that is interesting! I commend Haddix because she researches her history well and feeds the story pertinent information about it as needed to move story along. Nowhere does she add a history lesson for the sake of a history lesson. Kids would sniff this out in a heartbeat. Social Studies education is sorely lacking in American primary education today, and I applaud anyone who can include it in the creation of entertainment.

From a pure enjoyment stand point, children 8 years old and up will enjoy this series. They will love the time travel plot where it takes a couple of kids to save time. They will also enjoy its main characters. Haddix does a good job of writing the sibling interaction between Jonah and Katherine so children with brothers or sisters will really feel it. The author also helps the tone of her plot by not making the book too humorous. Part of the fun of time travel sci-fi is the childlike belief that it is just within reach of the realm of possibility, even though we know it isn’t. Too many laughs would probably keep pushing the story out of that realm.

For me personally, I loved the first book but I couldn’t latch on to the second and third wholeheartedly. This third book at 360 pages just moves too slowly for me with all the questions of what the characters should and shouldn’t do and explanations of time and tracer movement.  What keeps me going in this series is the history. I was interested in knowing how the author explained the Roanoke Colony’s disappearance, and I was quite pleased with that. I understand, however, how all the explanations help young readers to wrap their mind around the story and take it seriously. I would definitely recommend using this book in conjunction with language arts to bring more attention to history in our classrooms. Stories like this just might grab a child’s attention and make them want to learn on their own.

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Filed under Action, Adventure, Families, Fantasy, Historical, Junior Fiction, Love/Romance, Mystery, Native American, Science Fiction

The Last Musketeer

By Stuart Gibbs

Published by Harper

Copyright © 2011

 

Meet the Three Musketeers before they were the Musketeers in this thrilling middle ages, middle school adventure.

 

Greg Rich comes from, well, a rich family. Over the years, however, they have squandered their wealth until it has come to the point that Greg’s parents have to sell the family estate. Fortunately for them there is someone who is more than willing to take everything off of their hands. Michael Dinicoeur, a representative of the Louvre in Paris, France, buys everything from the Rich estate and flies the family to France to deliver their many antiquities. But something just doesn’t seem right to Greg and as they hand over the last item he soon learns that his gut is right. He and his family are thrust back in time and his parents are captured. If he is going to save them and the world he is going to have to find Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan to help him.

 

“The Last Musketeer” is a fabulous romp back in time. It is full of action, adventure, and history. There is sword play (though I wish there was more), cannon fire, doppelgangers, secret missions, and narrow escapes. Gibbs also does well in describing what Paris of 1615 looks and smells like. He doesn’t glamorize it as some movies and books do. It’s really quite gross, which makes it perfect for boys age 10 and up. Really though, any youth (boy or girl) with an interest in historical fiction, especially the Musketeers, will like this book.

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Filed under Action, Adventure, Families, Fantasy, Friendship, Historical, Junior Fiction