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Author: Gerald Allen Wunsch

Illustrator: Irene Joslin

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: AuthorHouse (nee 1stBooks), 2003

Material: paperback

Summary: With their parents traveling in Europe, fifth-graders Ginger Wanamaker and Irene Fong spend a month with Ginger's grandparents. In their search for interesting things to do, they discover that the house was part of the Underground Railroad. The story not only sets out historical events, but is designed to generate kids' interest in doing more research, too.

Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 9 to 12

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: One thing I can tell you is that if you enjoy reading mystery kinds of books you will definitely enjoy this book! I without a doubt I would recommend this book to elementary school children!

Adult Reader Reaction: This well-edited book is a wonderful read, full of adventure with an educational twist to which many young readers can relate. After just a few pages, the reader notices the educational value of Curiosity. While the questions at the base of each chapter may be somewhat intrusive for the average adult reader, the book is ideal for readers age 9-12.

Pros: This is a fast read, with a great story built around historical events, places, and things. Everyone in the house--not just the target audience--will enjoy the book and want to learn more.

Cons: None, really. The characters are a catalyst for telling the story, they aren't the substance of the story. So if you're looking for characters to relate to, this isn't your book.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a great book for getting kids interested in learning more about the Civil War in parts of the country other than the "colonies."

If You Liked This Book, Try: MY FATHER IS A CLOWN   INTRUDERS ON BATTLESHIP ISLAND (The Bayshore Mysteries)  

Educational Themes: In addition to learning about slavery and the Underground Railroad, the book also lists resources for learning more about old coins, wire fox terriers, and genealogy.

Notes: Also available as an Eboook. Guest reviewer Christine Hohlbaum, SAHM Expert for ClubMom and author of Diary of a Mother, contributed to this profile.

Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, adventure, historical fiction, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: June 2004

Other Reviews:


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