Posts tagged ‘kidnapping’

SPY DOGS AND SCI-FI

Spy Dogs (1): A Suspicious Neighbor

Written by Amma Lee

 

This book is the first in a series of spy dog detective mysteries. Puggy is an adorable pet who is totally devoted to Bill, his human master. When Puggy notices a new neighbor dragging a large black plastic bag into the house next door, he immediately becomes suspicious. Puggy peeks into the neighbor’s window and discovers lots of computers, strange mechanical devices, and caged dogs. Puggy learns that many dogs in the area have recently been kidnapped so he develops a plan to spy on the neighbor and unravel the mystery. Puggy is astonished to learn that this neighbor is actually an alien who has a plan to use the dogs to control humans. The faithful dog must mislead his master and risk his own life in an attempt to unravel the mystery. This book is the first in a series and ends on a cliffhanger.

This series is of interest to mystery and adventure enthusiasts. I believe it will especially appeal to middle-grade audiences.

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TROUBLE AFOOT

A Day for Courage: Tales of Friendship Bog Book 7

Written by Gloria Repp

Illustrated by Michael Swaim

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More trouble afoot in Friendship Bog and the surrounding swamps. Kidnappings, poisoning and floods are in store for the animal inhabitants. Our frog friends, Pibbin and Leeper go on a mission to help young rabbits that have been poisoned by a mysterious orange berry plant. They must search for the only known cure, the gel from the Gummy Bark to counteract the poison. Keena, the nefarious lizard, is suspected to be behind it. In the meantime, Carpenter frog has disappeared from his workshop so Pibbin and Tatter go to search for him. Along the way it is discovered that the beaver are having a problem with the skinks and Cheeco the Chipmunk is also missing. As the search continues, our investigators discover a mysterious map that they hope will be a key to solving the mystery. The beavers come up with a plan to rid themselves of Keena, the lizards, and the skinks, but will their plan work or will it destroy their homeland in the process?

Lots of adventure and twists and turns mixed with lessons for young chapter book readers. Our frog friends teach courage, bravery, and standing up for the rights of others. Cooperation is the only way to success, and there is value in taking risks when the ultimate aim is to make life better for all concerned.

Readers age seven and older who like animals, adventure and reading a series should enjoy all the books about life in Friendship Bog.

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ARABIAN ADVENTURES

Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask

Written by Darlene Foster

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Amanda is a twelve year old Canadian student who dreams of travel and adventure. Shortly after she blows out her birthday candles, Amanda’s wish comes true when she is invited to spend a month with her Aunt Ella and Uncle Ben in the United Arab Emirates. Soon Amanda immerses herself in the local culture by visiting a market where a local merchant sells her a mysterious perfume flask that purportedly once belonged to a princess. Amanda meets another young English girl living in her aunt’s building. They explore the seashore and a deserted Bedouin village where Amanda meets Princess Shamza who claims to have sold the perfume flask and her camel to get money to survive. Shamza has run away from her parents to avoid an arranged marriage to a wealthy old man. Lots of adventures ensue: camel races, sandstorms, kidnappings, and meeting Princess Shamza’s true love, a boy named Mohammed. How will Amanda’s journey end? Will she remain friends with Leah? Do the princess and Mohammed find happiness?

This is book one of Amanda’s travels. Lots of action and interesting characters, mixed with tidbits of culture and local customs. Middle grade readers become immersed in the action while learning a lot about multicultural characters and customs. Looking forward to seeing where Amanda will land next. I have a feeling that her love of adventure and generous spirit will lead her readers to be eager to join her again in the future.

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

The Chronicles of Ragnar Rabbit Book 1 How I Got My Name

Written and illustrated by Melinda Kinsman

Ragnar Rabbit,pic

Funny and clever early reader done in the format of a graphic novel. Protagonist is a stuffed rabbit nicknamed Raggy; the real story is how he got his name Ragnar. One day Raggy’s human owner, Max, goes to the library with his grandpa. They return home with a book about Vikings. Max and Raggy begin to act out Viking adventures. Max builds a Viking ship with the help of his parents and Raggy.

The next day, they are about to launch their ship when Raggy is whisked away by a vulture. I won’t give away the plot, but I can say Raggy will encounter a Ninja, and a helicopter before being kidnapped again. Max is disconsolate; the family searches for two weeks. At the end of the story, readers are still unaware of the whereabouts of Raggy, now named Rangar in honor of a famous Viking warrior. What has happened to the dedicated stuffed rabbit? Will he be reunited with Max? Guess we will find out in Book 2.

The simple vocabulary and speech balloons allow early readers to master the text and follow the emotions of the characters, including the adorable ants who comment and have their own little adventures while following Max and Raggy. Nice bedtime story, but particularly recommended for reluctant readers or as a beginning reader for ages four through seven.

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Column A or Column B

Once Upon An Island

Written by D M Potter

Onceuponanisland,pic

After opening the attractive cover, the reader will discover the words HOW to PLAY. Yes, this book is a game of sorts; it is an interactive story. The reader’s decisions allow her to shape the story. At each chapter break, the reader obtains an opportunity to redirect the story. So, in effect, the reader is almost writing the outcome of the story.

General plot involves you being invited to New Zealand to spend holidays with your cousins, Stella and Max. These cousins are planning to journey to an island named Arapawa. You don’t have to go there. Instead you can make the choice to stay with your mother’s friend, Maddy. That is only your first choice.

I spent some time alternating between choices so I could get a good feel for the divergent story lines. Depending on whether you want to make a “safe” choice or be adventurous, your journey might involve time travel, animal adventures, exploring social issues, becoming a hero or getting involved in a kidnapping. I like the fact that the author chooses both a strong male and female protagonist allowing the book to appeal to boys and girls. The text is written clearly and simply. It could be considered an early chapter book. Siblings might enjoy reading the book together and taking turns making alternate choices. There are so many variations that children will want to go back to it over and over again to see what happens as different combinations are selected.

I feel the author missed an opportunity by not including some illustrations to accompany the alternate chapters. The cover is attractive and appealing. While the book is certainly fun and interesting, having a few pictures could have piqued the interest level even more. I would still recommend the book highly to parents, teachers and librarians as one that will encourage creativity, decision making and critical thinking skills for children in middle grades and older. Adults will certainly enjoy reading it aloud as well.

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