Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Super Heroes to the Rescue

How many kids want to have super powers or be super heroes? I can remember wearing a towel-cape and running around the house. Of course that was just this last Saturday. Hey, I've got two kids and a Dad has to do what a Dad has to do. Besides, what dad doesn't want to be a super hero to their kids?

“The Amazing Adventures of Nate Banks: Secret Identity Crisis”

By Jake Bell
For Ages 7 - 10
This series is fun and fast. Think “Captain Underpants” without the potty humor. “The Amazing Adventures of Nate Banks" is a chapter book that will appeal to young boys like a comic book.
Rated: 3.5
The Good: Super heroes and a good message.
The Bad: Light on quality content.
Nate Banks is Kanigher Falls' biggest comic book expert, which also means he is an expert on super heroes. Usually it is only the big cities who get their own heroes but, when Ultra Violet appears in Kanigher Falls Nate becomes a little obsessed with the mysterious purple-clad hero. Nate is struggling a little in school, but Professor Content gives Nate a chance to earn a little extra credit. All he has to do is put a report together on Ultra Violet. That is when things really get interesting. Nate discovers Ultra Violet's secret identity, unwittingly aids the big, bad guy and helps save the day.

"Secret Identity Crisis, “Freezer Burned,” and the other installments in the series are fun and fast reads. Think “Captain Underpants” without the potty humor. Each issue also contains an 8-page comic book that helps tell the story.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Land of the Lost or Summer of Fun

Every young boy loves an adventure. Okay, maybe not every one, but a great many do. They love to pretend, play sword fights, search for treasure and discover uncharted lands. Summer happens to be a great time for this kind of play too. Children have all day to play outside and often take real adventures with their families. You and I know them as vacations. This book happens to offer an exciting adventure for those rainy summer days that are sure to put a damper on the outdoor adventures.

“Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow”

By James Rollins
For Ages 9 - 14
Best for boys, but girls will enjoy it as well. Think Young Indiana Jones with a little Doctor Who mixed in and you’ll end up with “Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow.”
Rated: 4
The Good: A fun fantasy-adventure with a mystery thrown in.
The Bad: Perilous situations and some unbelievability (even for a fantasy.)

Three years after the apparent deaths of their parents on an archaeological dig in the Yucatan, Jake Ransom and his sister are invited to London for the opening of a museum exhibit featuring their parent’s work. Aside from a couple journals and a broken Mayan coin, the siblings have very little to remind them of their parents. So they go to London for the opening. Just as a solar eclipse occurs Jake and his sister are transported to another world, with dinosaurs, Mayans, Romans, Egyptians, Vikings, and Neanderthals all living together in a mystical valley.

The pace of the action quickens as Jake tries to uncover a way back to “reality” while simultaneously preparing for a battle with the evil Skull King. Along the way Jake discovers clues that suggest his parents may still be alive. I guess we’ll have to purchase “Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx” to find out more.

Rollins deftly mixes historical facts in with fiction and fantasy for a fun and interesting adventure. This mysterious adventure includes battles, alchemy, peril, and interesting relationship dynamics. It will certainly make for good summer adventure reading.