Aldwyn lives the life of a skilled alley cat. Over the years he has learned a great deal about the city of Bridgetower and the people that live there. One day, after trying to steal a fish from a local merchant, Aldwyn finds himself on the run from the notorious, cat hating, bounty hunter, Grimslade. Aldwyn hides himself away in a pet shop. Though he escapes the bounty hunter, he quickly finds himself in a whole new situation when a young wizard in training chooses him to be his familiar.
Aldwyn is suddenly thrust into a whole new world, there is only one problem; Aldwyn doesn’t have any magic. In order to remain with Jack, Aldwyn will have to convince the other familiars that he does have magic.
When the three wizards in training are kidnapped, Aldwyn and the other two familiars are the only ones left to save them. The familiars begin their dangerous quest to save their loyals.
Familiars are far from a new concept. Witches have been flying around with their little black cats forever. These three familiars are quite interesting. Skylar is a bird with a truly impressive knowledge of magic and history. Gilbert is a tree frog with a desire to prove himself to his father. Aldwyn is an alley cat who, over the years, has developed impressive survival skills, but no magic of his own.
Their quest to save their loyals takes place in a mere three days, but is filled with obstacles, adventure, and unique settings.
I enjoyed reading this novel. The story is well written and entertaining. The plot line is unique, adventurous, and inviting.
I borrowed this copy of the novel from my step-daughter who recommended it to me. I have permission from the publishers to use the cover artwork image above.
Emily Crane is moving to San Francisco with her family. Her favorite game, Book Scavenger, is based out of San Francisco, so, though Emily may not be happy about moving again, she is excited about being so close to her role model, Garrison Griswold.
After Griswold is attacked at a local BART Station, the San Francisco version of a subway station, while on his way to launch his newest game, Emily, her brother Michael, and her new friend and neighbor James stumble upon a book, seemingly hidden behind a trash can. When Emily realizes it is actually the first part in Griswold’s new game, she enlists James’ help in solving the many puzzles and ciphers to get to the end. James and Emily are not the only ones after the treasure, and there are three dangerous men who are after the book they found at the BART station. Can Emily and James outsmart the criminals and solve the game first?
The mystery behind Mr. Griswold’s new game sends them through an amazing adventure throughout San Francisco and history. Readers of this wonderful middle-grade novel will learn a great deal about Edgar Allen Poe, ciphers, riddles, and San Francisco. A truly wonderful book for young readers.
I love the idea of a Book Scavenger hunt, especially on a national scale. It would be a wonderful way to interest children in books again. I only wish it was already a game so that my kids and I could play.
This book is very well written and the amount of research the author must have done really shows.
I am not the biggest fan of horror fiction, so, naturally, I am not a huge Poe fan. That said, I have read some of his more famous works, though it has been years. I began this novel with only a basic understanding of Poe and his work.
I enjoyed the personalities of Emily and James and their desire to solve puzzles and riddles.
Emily and James have completely different backgrounds. Since Emily’s parents have a goal to live in every state at least once, Emily has moved around a lot for a twelve year old. At first, each move was like a brand new adventure, but now that she is older, packing up and leaving time and time again is beginning to wear on her. It is hard to make friends when you have no idea when you’ll have to pack up and leave again.
On the other hand James’ family has lived in the same house for generations. He knows the neighborhood and the people and he has known most of the kids at his school since they were small children.
Despite their differences, Emily and James’ mutual love for puzzles and riddles helps them to develop a fast friendship.
I would recommend this novel to middle-grade readers who enjoy books and challenges.
I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library and have permission from the publishers at Macmillan to use the image of the cover artwork featured above.
Hermione Granger has translater the marvelous tales of Beedle the Bard from their original runes. Here are the tales that for generations have been taught to wizard children, with communtary from Albus Dumbledor himself, and notes from J. K. Rowling.
I read this book as a favor to a friend whose child has begun to show an interest in the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling. Having read the Harry Potter books as a teen, it has been some years since I have read any of the original books.
This book was published after the original seven books, if I understand correctly, and is not connected to Harry Potter himself. Rowling has, in this book, written a collection of fables for her magical community. Much like our "Aesop's Fables," these tales are written to teach children certain morals.
Unlike the Harry Potter books, this book appears to be written for a younger audience. It includes simpler vocabulary and illustrations and is only 107 pages long.
While the morals they attempt to teach are, for the most partm morals parents do, in fact, try to teach their children, some of the stories are unpleasant and, perhaps, not something parents would like their younger children reading. My meaning being that the style is for a younger audience, while the stories themselves, are for an older one.
It is well written and developed, with Albus Dumbledor's character evident, as if Rowling took on his character while writting. I believe anyone who enjoyed the Harry Potter series would enjoy this book.
I do caution parents of younger children that this book does, in fact, have questionable content for younger readers, including a murder/suicide. Each parent is responsible for judging their own children's maturity level. I simply suggest parents may want to read this book before their youner children.
I bought this book from my local library and have permission to use the image above, granted by J. K. Rowling's PR representative with the condition that I properly credit it. Therefore, this book was written by J. K. Rowling and published by Scholastic Inc.
Middle Grade Reviews
Middle grade novels hold a special place in this world as they help children to transition into their teenage years and help to shape and mold who they will become.
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