Sunday, October 7, 2012

Adventure Books for Kids

Ok, who is up for an adventure or should I say a trip to the unknown filled with danger and intrigue? In the books selected this week our characters are confronted with challenges, both physical and mental, and we root for them to triumph over the bad guy.

 Of course there are always one or two great chase scenes (by foot, by boat or by car) that get the action going, but in the end we love it when our hero or heroine displays the wit and humor needed to prevail.

I have some great selections this week that should get kid's pulses racing and put their imaginations into overdrive.  These are books kids won't want to put down, so be prepared for some late night reading!

Title:        Spy School

Author:    Stuart Gibbs

Target:     Grades 4-8

Series:      No

What this book is about:
Ben Ripley is thrilled and amazed when he is recruited for the C.I.A’s Academy of Espionage, a school for spies in training.  However, when he gets there he knows something is off.  Turns out he wasn’t recruited as a student but as a plant to help catch a mole in the school.  Is he up to the task or will he just be a victim in a bigger plot?

Why I love this book:
This book is a great ride and an exciting mystery.  There are surprises at every turn and the suspense is kept up until the very end when the mole is exposed.  The best review I can give it is that my son couldn’t put it down!

Ben is a well written character who manages this crazy situation with humor and tenacity.  There is a lot of great play on the James Bond concept of spies, and Ben’s goofiness just adds a refreshing humor to the story.

Who this book is for:
Kids who like action, adventure with some humor thrown in.  It is also a good mystery and I think the reader will be surprised by the whodunnit.

Final thoughts:
Great book cover, I just love it when publishers get it right!

To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Spy School  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:        Island of Thieves

Author:    Josh Lacey

Target:     Grades 4-6

Series:      Not at the moment

What this book is about:
After Tom accidentally burns down his parents shed, his original babysitters aren’t so anxious to take him in while his parents are on a getaway to Nassau.  As result, Tom’s parents have to rely on his Uncle Harvey, not their first choice.   As soon as Tom’s parents leave, Uncle Harvey announces he is off to Peru and that Tom has the run of the place for the week.  Tom has no intention of missing an adventure in Peru and after a lot of pleading, and a little mention of calling the police, Uncle Harvey lets him come along on what proves to be the adventure of a lifetime ...... a treasure hunt involving gangsters, forged artwork, car chases and the lost journals of John Drake.

Why I love this book:
This book was a nonstop ride, full of action and adventure with some fun Indiana Jones style humor.  I have to say I read it in almost one sitting because I simply got caught up in the story and I really enjoyed the characters.  Uncle Harvey is as cool as they come, and Tom is just hanging on for dear life, but underneath it all, he realizes he likes the thrill of it all. 

The action sequences are well written and plentiful and there is just enough clever humor to take the edge off.  I also really enjoyed learning some of the history of Sir Francis Drake, his voyage around the world and his tendency to pirate from those laden down with too much fortune!

Who this book is for:
Kids who like action sprinkled with humor and a little history thrown in.

Final thoughts:
Island of Thieves was a pleasant surprise of a story.  An action book that was well written enough to appeal to both boys and girls.

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Island of Thieves  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:        The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable

Author:    Dan Gutman

Target:     Grades 3-6

Series:      Yes

What this book is about:
Twins, Coke and Pepsi McDonald (yes those really are their names) are being pursued by people who wish to see them dead.  Turns out that being a kid genius can be hazardous to your health.  Their family has planned a cross country vacation in an RV and they must allude their assassins and crack cipher codes as they make their way across country to visit the Pez museum, the singing sand dunes and the largest ball of twine.  All this while keeping their parents in the dark!

Why I love this book:
Dan Gutman is the author of the Baseball Card Series, and he is just a great tried and true author of kid’s books.  This book is not an award winner, but it is fun ride.  I loved the cross country trip with the stops at every kitschy tourist attraction along the way.  The book actually has instructions on how kids can plug into google maps to see the route the family takes.  It will give them a much greater appreciation of geography, with fun facts along the way.  

The story is a little preposterous, but Gutman keeps it fun and never takes the premise too seriously, so it works.  

Who this book is for:
This book is especially great for kids who love maps and random trivia.

Final thoughts:
The story culminates at the House on the Rock, an actual Wisconsin tourist attraction I had the pleasure of visiting as a kid.  Sadly, my parents never had the vision to take me to the Ball of Twine!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

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