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Author: Kevin Gerard

Illustrator: Justin Gerbracht, cover art

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: AuthorHouse, ©2007

Material: paperback

Summary: Conor Jameson is 10 years old. He’s confused and angry because his favorite uncle Jake has died. On the night his Uncle was buried, Conor was in bed, crying, trying to understand why his uncle died. He was visited by a mystical beast from the Crossworlds, Purugama, who took him on a series of adventures aimed at explaining life’s choices and consequences. Their journeys were exciting, challenging, scary, and informative. Their shared experiences developed a strong bond of gratitude, respect, and friendship. This is book one in an five-part fantasy adventure series.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, read aloud book, advanced reader

Recommended Age: read together: 10 and up; read yourself: 12 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Age of Child: Read by a student at the Woodside High Magnet School for Arts and Communication (Newport News, VA)

Young Reader Reaction: This was banging. Conor was cool.

Adult Reader Reaction: This piece of teen fantasy is well done. It is well written and imaginative. There is also some education re civility, moral issues, etc. that make it a bit more meaty than some of the otherHarry Potter wannabees.

Pros: The author knows his audience and captures them before the end of the first paragraph. Though its genre is teen fantasy, the authenticity of the plot, the integrity of the characters, and the quality and structure of the narrative set it apart from the typical teen fantasy works.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. Fantasy literature is an extraordinarily popular genre among young teens these days. However, most of the works are simply variations on the Harry Potter theme. The author has demonstrated that there are fresh, imaginative, and creative ways to keep the genre interesting. His writing style provides the reader with an enjoyable experience. Not only does this work qualify for a “buy” recommendation, it also serves as a tickler to watch for the sequel.

If You Liked This Book, Try: RAIRARUBIA (The Rairarubia Tales, Book 1)   TOASTER POND   THE JOURNEY (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Book Two)

Educational Themes: This is essentially the story of mentor and student. Purugama, a mystical cougar, is charged with mentoring ten year old, Conor Jameson, about life, its challenges, choices, responsibilities and consequences. Each episode provides rich topics for discussion that will engage preteens and teenagers in thoughtful and personal conversation.

Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, adventure, series book

Date(s) Reviewed: July 2007, June 2008

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