Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: Challenge on the Hill of Fire

One thing I have found is that it is terribly difficult to review a book when your child loses it.  That was the case with this one.  I kept thinking "it'll turn up" so I didn't want to purchase another.  And it did turn up.  When I was cleaning out the van after totaling it. 

None of that has anything to do with this review, other than the fact that I planned to post a review three months ago, and am just now getting it done.  Because of that, I am also going to do a giveaway.

So, Challenge on the Hill of Fire by Marianne Hering and Nancy Sanders is book #10 in The Imagination Station series. I have reviewed -- and loved -- many of these books in the past, and this title most certainly does not disappoint.

The basic premise of The Imagination Station Series is that twins Patrick and Beth go back in time and interact in a variety of historical scenarios.  The first books in the series followed an extended story arc, so they were better if read in order.  This book, like the other later titles, stands on its own.

Challenge on the Hill of Fire is about Patritius (St. Patrick), specifically about him challenging the Druid priests by building a fire when it is forbidden.  Patrick and Beth get caught up in the middle, of course.

Like most of the books in the series, if you already know a fair amount about the history of the particular event or person, a lot of the plot is fairly predictable.  That is what my oldest struggling reader (William, 14) has found.  He enjoys the suspense of just how Patrick and Beth will get out of the scrape they are in, but he generally knows what is happening in the historical portion of the story.

With a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of 2.1, though, even he says that for the reading level of the book this is far more interesting and intriguing than anything else he's encountered.  From what I've read before (and written about it some of my reviews), this is intentional.  These books are meant to be at a fairly low reading level, but have a high interest level, even for older kids.  My boys seem to "top out" on this series somewhere around age 12-13, which goes right along with the age range stated at Focus on the Family (ages 7-12).  You can go check out the first chapter for yourself.

For both my 12 and 14 year old, though, the other side of that is that they are reading at a higher level now, too.  Still not "at grade level," but this series is now a pretty "easy read" for them.  I'm sad about that, however the series is at a perfect level for my 9 year old, Richard.  And since the book is in the house, William and Thomas are likely to pick it up anyway.

What I love about this series is the fact that they have integrated history with a wholesome yet action-packed storyline featuring both a male and female character, and all of this in that 'early chapter book' reading level.  My older boys may get a bit of a superior, "I already know how this ends" attitude, but they still grab the book and read it.  That gives them more reading practice, and successful practice at that.

Would you like to win your own copy of Challenge on the Hill of Fire?  I am giving one away.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer:   I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers.  No other compensation was received.  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

7 comments:

Clarissa said...

My 8-year-old son would be reading this book. We have some books in this series and really like them!

k balman said...

I would read this to my 5 and 7 yr old. We love this series and dont have this one.

Lisa McClanahan said...

We have read books 1-9 & all of my girls are looking forward to reading this one.

Jalynn Patterson said...

My boys and I love the series!

Dianne Osmun said...

I would love to win this for my daughter.

Brittney said...

I would love to win this to read aloud to my 6 year old. We've actually never read anything from this series!

Staci Luker said...

I would love to have this to read with my daughter