Children's Book Reviews

Friday, April 05, 2013

I Love a Great Adventure!

 Who doesn't love an adventure? Yet once we embark on an adventure, however passionate we are about it, we sometimes lose heart. I'm thinking of Frodo in The Hobbit. He doesn't like fighting or hurting others, the dwarfs make fun of him, and he misses the comfort of his home. He starts to go back when he remembers that he wants to be on this adventure, however dangerous it is. I feel that way sometimes about my writing and art, slipping and sliding between faint heart and brave heart modes when it comes to taking the next big step. If there is a hint of criticism or if there is any  mountain to climb, like day jobs, rules from agents or publishing houses, or the economy doesn't encourage art buying, I will want to head back to the comfort zone. Still, we all must keep on the path of our chosen adventure, or the bucket lists of life never see their full reward. What I love about Patalosh and its hero is Orion never gives up even when he is in the direst of circumstances. He will find his parents no matter the cost and become part of the Royal Navy.

One can hardly put Patalosh down. The plotting in this hero’s journey, undertaken by 10 year old Orion Spence, is dynamic with one predicament just being solved when another pops up as Orion and the crew of Exploricus time travel from one time and one culture to another looking for clues to the whereabouts of his kidnapped parents by the malevolent Emperor Daaggerd. Along the way Orion picks up his friends from different time zones and cultures including the penguin Pen who turns out to be someone who is not what she seems. The ending is a superb cliffhanger paving the way for a sequel or series.

Not only is it a rollicking good adventure, but it is also a quest that the reader feels a part of as descriptions are ample giving one a clear sense of the sights, sounds, smells, and especially the culinary tastes of each place in which Orion lands. Characters, including the different physical Taloshian body forms are carefully depicted. There are maps, illustrations and spot drawings sprinkled throughout to enable further visualization. The reader, parents, and teachers have plenty of follow through to create further activities or lesson plans with descriptions, recipes, and “Royal Academy” training exercises suggested. Go to the website for more activities, a video trailer of the book, and useful information about space, fitness, and exploration. Highly recommended for ages 10 and beyond, even adults will not want to put it down. When will the sequel come out? One can hardly wait.


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