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Book Review

By March 4, 2019August 28th, 2019Book Reviews

Looking for some thrilling adventures? Check out a few of our family favorites! These Adventure chapter books can be read independently by older elementary children but are excellent read-alouds for kindergarten to adult.

Adventure Chapter books (series)
#1 The Wilderking series
By Jonathon Rogers

The Bark of the Bog Owl
(The Wilderking Trilogy #1)
By Jonathon Rogers
Read aloud – all ages; Independent read 4th grade and up.

“What if I am destined to be the Wilderking? How should I live?”
“The same way you should live if you weren’t the Wilderking. Live the life that unfolds before you. Love goodness more than you fear evil.”

The Bark of the Bog Owl is a mixture of Huck Finn, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the Biblical story of David & Goliath. Set in the mythical land of Corenwald, Aidan Errolson is destined to be the Wilderking to save his beloved country from the deceitful Pyrthians. Just a teenager, he is an unlikely warrior-king, and his stories of Dobro, the feechie, just complicate his credibility. Readers can sympathize with Aidan’s struggles and doubts, yet his unshakeable love of country and commitment to integrity propel him forward. His friend Dobro provides more than a few chuckles.
The Bark of the Bog Owl is a lovely read-aloud for the entire family. It has all the great elements of a strong story – humor, mystery, adventure, and underlying truths that encourage us all to “Love goodness more than you fear evil.”

Adventure Chapter books (series)
#2 Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School
By Andrew Clements

Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School: We the Children
Written by Andrew Clements
Ages 7-10

“First and always, my school belongs to the children. DEFEND IT. Duncan Oakes 1783”

This is the inscription on the gold coin given to Ben, a sixth grader at Oakes School, by the ancient janitor Mr. Keane, right before he fell over dead in the school hallway. His last words conveyed an urgency for Ben to protect the school and keep it from being torn down in the name of progress. Ben and his friend, Jill, start looking for answers. It turns out that Captain Oakes, the school’s founder, left clues, artifacts, and other tools that the children hope will keep the only school they have ever known from being demolished and the quaint history of their town unblemished by the construction of an amusement park.

The Keepers of the School is a six-volume set. It is very suspenseful without the use of magic or fantasy. Ben and Jill (and later Robert) follow the clues in an effort to save their school. The children do real detective work and learn historical information along the way. They learn to work together and the power of friendship. Written for middle grades, this series will engage even the most reluctant of readers as the mystery unfolds. Will Ben and his friends be able to save the Oakes School?

Andrew Clements is a favorite children’s author who writes about ordinary people and often uses the school setting, which is so relevant to children. His books are a nice balance of humor, suspense, and genuine characters. Some of his other books include Frindle, Lunch Money, The School Story, and Janitor’s Boy.

Adventure Chapter books (series)
Tucket’s Travels: Mr. Tucket, book 1
By Gary Paulsen

Mr. Tucket (The Francis Tucket books #1)
Written by Gary Paulsen

“Happy Birthday, Francis,” his father said, smiling. “We figured that it was about time you had one of these.” Francis was really puzzled, until his fingers tore away some of the paper. He didn’t need to unwrap it all to know what it was.”

Mr. Tucket is the first installment in a five-volume series about Francis Tucket and his family’s journey to Oregon during America’s Westward Expansion. In 1847, Francis and his family leave their farm in Kansas for a new life. Francis receives his own rifle for his 14th birthday and lags behind, practicing his shooting. Soon he is captured by Pawnee Indians. Will he get away? If he does, how will he survive alone in the wilderness?

Mr. Tucket is a great adventure story loved by children and adults alike. The reader will be transported into the difficulties faced by early settlers of the American West. Paulsen’s knowledge of the living in the wilderness provides detailed descriptions of Francis and his struggles. Young readers can relate to Francis’ efforts to be grown-up. All readers will enjoy the adventure, humor, and excitement of these Western tales. Along the way, they’ll also gain an appreciation for early settlers in the American West.

Adventure Chapter books (series)
Madeleine Takes Command
Living History Library

By Ethel C. Brill

“What is your plan, Ma’m’selle?” the older solider inquired.
“To defend the seigneury to the last. The little children must stay in the blockhouse and their mothers with them That leaves only six of us …We are fighting for our people-what there are left of them-for our country and our faith. Let us fight to the death if need be.”

Madeleine Takes Command is a based on the true facts of how in 1692 Madeleine de Vercheres, a French Canadian settler, her two younger brothers, and a handful of settlers defended the family estate against the Mohawk Indians until help arrived. Her parents were away at the fur-trading center of Montreal when the Indians trapped most of the men when they were farming the land outside the garrison. Madeleine’s quick thinking, courage, and leadership motivate the remaining settlers to hold off the Indians.

Madeleine Takes Command vividly portrays the dangers and hardships of settling the new frontier. It portrays the struggles of both the French settlers and the Indians in whose land they were seeking to develop. Madeleine’s story is a remarkable story for young people, females in particular. She is a worthy character to imitate.

Reading about history really makes places come alive! We read this book aloud as a family before we took a family trip to Quebec. We stood on the banks of the very river that Madeleine watched her mother sail away and from which she hoped and prayed help would arrive. We looked across the plains and imagined the settlers hunting and farming as described in the Madeleine’s story. We felt we were in Madeleine’s time. That is the power of an amazing story….it transports us to places we haven’t been. Then if we are fortunate enough to actually visit there, it feels familiar and like an old friend.

Madeleine Takes Command is one book in the Living History Library series. Each book in the series portrays an actual historical period and persons from the perspective of children. We have read many of them and they are an excellent way to learn and experience history. Check them all out!

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