Monday, April 04, 2011

Imagination Station

Today Mia and I are reviewing the first two books in the Imagination Station series from Adventures in Odyssey. I have a pair of these books to give away to one lucky reader! If you would like the chance to win, please end me an email by clicking on that link or by sending to christysbookblog at gmail dot com before 10 pm on Thursday, April 7th. I'll announce the winner here on Friday, April 8th. Good luck!

Voyage with the Vikings (AIO Imagination Station Books)Voyage with the Vikings by Paul McCusker & Marianne Hering is the first book in the Imagination Station series from Adventures in Odyssey. The Imagination Station was created by Mr. Whittaker who runs a soda shop called Whit's End. It's a bit like a time machine, but Whit is having troubles with it. It won't work for him, but when cousins Paul and Beth step inside, it lights up, ready for a mission. And they have somewhere important to go: a mysterious Albert is threatened by Lord Darkthorn, and Paul and Beth must retrieve a Viking sunstone to rescue him. Whit keeps a huge supply of costumes on hand to ensure that wherever the cousins go, they will be dressed appropriately, and he seems to have some knowledge of what will happen because he gives them just the tools they will need. In this adventure, Paul and Beth meet Erik the Red and his son Leif Erikson in Greenland. Leif is a Christian and treats the children with kindness, but Erik thinks Christianity is for weaklings and fools and he wants to sell them as slaves. The kids will have to use both their smarts and ability to find the sunstone and escape with their lives. First Mia's review: I liked everything about this book, especially being able to go to the past. My favorite part was the mysterious person who helped them open the church door. I loved the illustrations and the author is magnificent at his writing. I learned that God should forever be in your path. I really like that all of these books are Jesus books. I like the alliteration in the title. Now my review: I think this is a fantastic new series for chapter book readers. Mia and I have read several in the Magic Tree House series, to which this is certain to be compared, but Imagination Station is far superior. The writing doesn't talk down to readers, the plots are thoroughly engaging while using historical characters. They give kids a good view of what life was like at the time, because Patrick and Beth are treated like children of the era. The plot about Albert will propel this kids forward through the next several books, and I will be glad to journey with them. This is one series that I don't dread reading aloud with my daughter each night.

Attack at the Arena (AIO Imagination Station Books)Attack at the Arena by Paul McCusker & Marianne Hering is the second book in the Imagination Station series from Adventures in Odyssey. Cousins Paul and Beth returned safely from the Viking era with the sunstone only to find that there is another quest them must undertake in order to rescue Albert from Lord Darkthron. Mr. Whittaker, the Imagination Station's creator, gives the children a bit more information about the Station and Albert before sending them to the time of the Romans to find a monk's cup. The kids find themselves in the middle of an arena, and while they escape from the jaws of a tiger, Beth quickly finds herself captured by a soldier and forced to work as a slave with Emperor Honorius' birds, while Paul is helped by the monk Telemachus who has come to Rome with a message for the Emperor from God. First Mia's review: My favorite part was the excitement of Beth being separated from Patrick. I think the illustrations are magnificent. Now my review. Attack at the Arena picks up the story the day after the previous book, and the kids still have much to learn about traveling in time. McCusker shakes things up a bit this time by separating the cousins and forcing them to work individually. Unlike the Magic Tree House series, which has a similar format, this gives depth and intelligence to the story, because each story isn't going to be a carbon copy of the previous book. There is a strong message of faith in the series, especially in this book, as the kids witness the horrors of arena fighting (the author keeps the violence overt) and see how God can touch and change people. May seems like a long time to wait for the next two books in the series!

Thank you to Side Door Communications for providing me with copies of these books for review!