Earlier this year, I reviewed the second book of a series -- Attack at the Arena. A couple months after that, I was able to review two more books in the Imagination Station series. Peril in the Palace and Revenge of the Red Knight are books 3 and 4. I purchased book 1, but have never posted a review.
So I was thrilled beyond belief to have the opportunity to review books 5 and 6.
Without totally retelling the story I told in that second review... this series is targeting reluctant and/or struggling readers in roughly the 8-12 year old range. The series features boy/girl cousins traveling in time, and there is plenty of action and adventure along with the chance for the cousins to rub elbows with some pretty important people and to witness some key events of history. So strong boy appeal. And I'd think strong girl appeal too (but I can't judge that yet).
I love books that I can give to my struggling readers. Both boys. There is NOT enough out there, and this is filling a space that needed filling.
Connor (my non-struggling-reader teen) read this book quickly, and he enjoyed it. He appreciated that the series was bringing biblical history into the mix, but he commented on how he "prefers his time travel stories to involve characters who aren't quite so slow to grasp what is occurring around them." But he also stated that this was a "fun, quick read" and that he really does enjoy the series.
William, 12 and definitely a struggling reader, read this aloud to me. He had the same hang-up that Connor expressed. He was very frustrated that it took Patrick and Beth so long to figure out that this was "the" David. So basically the same complaint that Connor had... and I have to admit, from listening to the book being read, I definitely had the feeling Patrick and Beth were pretty clueless on biblical history. I didn't notice that so much with the other titles... I mean, how many tweens know anything about the War of the Roses or Marco Polo? But David and Goliath?
What I determined in this is that William -- who will turn 13 in another couple weeks -- is hitting that point where some of the formulaic plots annoy him. I think if he was reading better it would be different, more like Connor's reaction. Since it does take William awhile to get through a book, though, he finds some of the stuff frustrating.
When I asked, however, if he wanted to skip reading book #6, he was quick to tell me that he'd read it "if you really want me to." Said in that Fred Savage of Princess Bride way... where he seems to be desperately trying to cover up the fact that he really is interested.
We are not far into this, I will confess. I skimmed it though, and basically it appears to be very similar to the previous five titles. Some great historical information, lots of action, and the cousins not quite catching up with Hugh to set history all back to rights.
I still think this series is fantastic, and great for reluctant or struggling readers. All three of my older boys really do agree.
At this point, we are halfway through the planned 12-title series, and I fully intend to acquire the rest. I am planning to have Thomas start reading from book #1, because I think these would be perfect for him.
One thing I really noticed with this title is the repeated vocabulary. William will stumble a bit with a word, but then encounter that same word 2-3 more times in the next couple of pages. I assume the authors did this intentionally... and it is a confidence booster for my son.
A sneak peek:
Secret of the Prince's Tomb will be released in January 2012
Mystery of Starlight Island is scheduled for a May, 2012 release
Don't those look fun???
So... a giveaway! I'm blessed to be able to offer a set of books #5 and #6 to one lucky reader. This is only open to those in the US or Canada, please. Giveaway will end at midnight Eastern time on Sunday night, November 20.
Disclaimer: I received these books for myself and a set to giveaway from Side Door Communications. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.