Unfortunately, in the mess of the weeks after Mom's death, I misplaced the book and never did get it to my kids. When I saw that Submarines, Secrets & a Daring Rescue was out, though, I knew I wanted the chance to review it.
Robert A. and Robert J. Skead, a father-son team, wrote these books after doing some genealogical research and discovering an ancestor of theirs, Lamberton Clark, who was involved in the Culper Spy Ring.
So, first, what the publisher had to say about this book:
A Revolutionary War action-thriller filled with spies and heroes, targeted to boys and girls 8-12. In this second book in the American Revolutionary War Adventure series, twins Ambrose and John Clark find themselves volunteering for another mission to help the newly forming United States of America. Inspired by their success in delivering a secret message to General George Washington himself, the boys step up to help transport much-needed gunpowder to the patriots and end up in an even more dangerous situation, manning one of the first submarines and then, later, attempting a prison break to rescue their older brother, Berty
Written by Robert Skead with the help of his father, the main character is based on their ancestor who fought in the American Revolution as part of the Connecticut militia. Though historical fiction, the events that occurred with George Washington in New Jersey regarding the war effort are true.
Our thoughts:I had read the first book, but my kids had not. I ended up doing this as a read-aloud, so I could really judge their responses to the book. The kids involved are right in the ages 8-12 intended age range, with Trina being 9 and Richard being 11.
It took them a lot longer than I expected for them to start caring a whole lot about the characters and the story line. I thought it was exciting and suspenseful from the start, so maybe that had to do with me already "knowing" these characters from reading the first book.
By the time we had hit the halfway mark, though, they -- or Richard at least -- were begging for another chapter. "Come on, Mom, let's just finish it!" was said pretty much every time I suggested we had read enough for the day.
If you have younger kids, you might want to pre-read a bit to be sure you are comfortable with the situations presented. Their older brother, Berty, is captured and beaten and is to be hung as a spy. I thought the Skead's did a good job of conveying how truly awful it was, without being too graphic. However, my definition of too graphic may not line up with yours. The beating-up chapter is rather short, and if your child is younger, reading this aloud would allow you to just summarize that bit (and maybe edit on the fly for a couple of other scenes) and still enjoy the adventure and action.
My favorite part is at the end, where there are fairly extensive notes about what really happened, which characters were real people, etc.
And of course, the ending is left wide open for the next book in the series. I sure hope it happens, as I highly recommend both of these books!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”