Christmas is over again – *noooooooo.* This feels a little odd because I wrote this post last month as I knew there was no way I would be able to blog with all the family/friends/life bits going on this months so I’ve been scheduling like a busy bee. I couldn’t decide whether to blog over the Christmas period but I’ve got too many reviews not too. Today’s is a delightful children’s book that I recently had the delight of reading. Enjoy.
Amy, Amanda, Marshall, and Ziggy expect their middle school to be empty on Saturday morning so they can get ready for the regional science fair. They don’t expect a botched experiment to attract a horde of time-displaced ancient Mayans when their unusual science advisor, Frederick Froth, goes missing.
The four must use their unique science skills and work together as they grapple with a Mayan god, the Dark Rift, and the principles of science to rescue Mr. Froth.
I’m going to start this review the only way I know how – I wish this had been around when I was 7/8 and getting utterly obsessed with reading. The book follows the confusion of a botched science experience at a science fair where a bunch of Mayans appear just as their teacher Mr Froth goes missing. We follow the story with Amy, Amanda, Marshall and Ziggy who must battle with the evil Mayans, and find their teacher ASAP!
In terms of the characters Ziggy is wonderful – from the very first sentence he comes across a little arrogant but in an utterly adorable and intelligent way. He’s brainy, really clued up on life and a lovely little character. The rest of the bunch have their own ways – I really liked Amanda and definitely thought she gave Ziggy a run for his money at times in the brainy stakes. Each adds their own flourish to the group and although they don’t truly get on at the beginning they learn that their differences and their individual traits will make all the difference when they have to work together; it’s a lovely moral to the tale.
It’s not all about morals, there’s a really exciting scientific, historical enjoyment to this book. Facts and fiction are mixed seamlessly here and throughout the book the author manages to make the dispersed information fun whilst also explaining it in simplistic but interesting ways. At times it does become a little complicated, and think as each of the characters brings in their own knowledge to solve the mysteries it does get a bit technical; it worries me a little that children could get a little confused in the information. Saying this – if read with a parent this would be a wonderful thing to go through together during the tale and make the book more interactive (just a thought.)
In terms of the writing style it is perfect for the target audience which I would assume is around the age 7/8+. Although it is exciting and well described it is simple enough to be understood without becoming slow or boring. As the tension builds in the second half of the book I thought the suspense and then tension really increased and as we get closer and closer to the end I really couldn’t put the book down. It has a really wonderfully warm feeling mixed with the excitement of solving the mystery. My only wobble was some of the text styling the italics and the over use of exclamation marks for me were a little distracting but that’s a personal preference really.
Would I recommend this? Yes, and if it wasn’t so close to Christmas I definitely would have suggested this as a stocking present. It has the perfect mix of loveable characters, excitement, mystery and science. I think this is also a book that parents and grown-ups would really enjoy reading to their child because it’s exciting and interesting enough to really involve more adult readers too! If there’s a sequel I would love to get my hands on it because I thought this was pretty wonderful. Thumbs up.