Monday, April 4, 2011

Book Review: The Imagination Station

A little while ago, I was given the opportunity to preview the first two books in a new children's series called The Imagination Station for their blog tour.  The series follows the exciting adventures of two cousins (a boy and a girl) who get to travel through time in an imagination station.  Each adventure combines history, action, Christian faith and an element of mystery.  The stories remind me of another children's book series called The Magic Tree House.

Before handing these books off to my nine year old daughter, I read through them.  I was impressed with how engaging they were for a children's book.  The authors, Marianne Haring and Paul McCusker,  do a great job at telling the reader how the setting looks so you can actually imagine what the places where the cousins, Beth and Patrick, look like.  I thought the illustrations in the book were nicely done and did a great job at conveying what was happening in the story at that point.  The stories are bound to keep eager young readers on the edge of their seat.  It's yet another series of children's books that your child won't want to put down until the story is completed. The publisher, Tyndale, and Focus on the Family plan to expand this fun series of children's books to at least eight titles.

The first adventure in this series is Voyage with the Vikings.  In this story, children will be transported to Greenland in the mysterious Imagination Station that only seems to work for them, and not it's inventor.  The children head back in time on a special mission to find something that is needed to save the mysterious Albert.  While they're there, they meet Eric the Red and Lief.  The plot has twists and turns and a nice dose of history and faith woven into the story.  When I finished reading this book I was ready to find out what happens next.  My daughter felt the same way after she devoured this book.  You can preview the first few chapters of this book by clicking here.

The second book in this series is Attack at the Arena.  In this book the cousins travel to ancient Rome.   In this adventure, children will be on the edge of their seats as they wait to find out the fate of Beth, who is the Emperor's slave, and Patrick, who is a monk.  I liked this book because it culminates with a key character being reminded that it's not enough to just be a follower of Christ, you also have to conduct yourself as though you are.  The message is subtle, but it makes it's impact nonetheless.

Overall, I found the first two books in this series to be well written.  Children who are just starting to read chapter books will find the easy words and large print easy to read.  They'll also appreciate the lovely illustrations that will further help to make the story come alive.  This series has the potential to appeal to both boys and girls.  I particularly like series which try to engage children of both genders.  Children who like adventure, mystery and history will surely enjoy these books.  This series isn't dripping in history quite as much as the Magic Tree House series, but it has a nice healthy dose of it that carries the potential to spark an interest in history for young children.   The book's Christian message is subtle.  I have read other books for children where the religious message feels heavy handed and forced. This is not the case with this series.  The message is there, but it does not try to shove anything down the readers throat.

My daughter who is nine thoroughly enjoyed the books and thinks they are a lot of fun.  She is curious about the mysterious messages regarding Albert, and so am I!  Going by her expert kid opinion, I'd say that children between the ages of seven to ten will enjoy these books.

As a parent, I not only enjoyed the fun historically infused stories, I also appreciated the fact that the end of each book has an activity puzzle.  Once you finish the book you can complete the puzzle and find the secret word.  The secret word can be used to win a prize on the series' website.

To make this blog tour fun for you my readers, I will am also hosting a giveaway of these two books.  One reader will win the first two books in this series courtesy of the publisher, Tyndale.  To enter, simply leave a comment telling me why you would like to add these books to your child's library.  If you blog, tweet, or facebook about this giveaway I will give you one additional entry for each.  The giveaway will end on April 10th at 5pm EST, and the winner will be announced the following morning.

1 comment:

  1. My kiddos love the Magic Tree House books. My kids like non-fiction over fiction. So I like to introduce fiction books with some non-fiction stuff in them. I think these may fit the bill.


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