April 23, 2013

Hunt for the Devil's Dragon {A Review}

It was on the table with the lamp. They all saw it. Over the course of two days, each one came to me and asked to read it. I began a waiting list. It was first come first serve, or in this case, first on the list. Each child was told they would have to wait for me to read it and write a review. Then, I would give it to them, in order of who asked first, to read. They have waited ever so patiently. Today, I decided to end their wait.

What are they waiting for? Their chance to read Hunt for the Devil's Dragon, by Marianne Hering and Wayne Thomas Batson. It is part of The Imagination Station series.

Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station Book: #11, Hunt for the Devil's Dragon  -     
        By: Marianne Hering & Wayne Thomas Batson

This is the eleventh book in the series, but the first book my children or I have read. However, as I read through it last night, I was not lost. The book provides enough information about the characters to allow it to be read as a single, stand alone book. It probably didn't hurt that we, as a family, are quite familiar with Adventures in Odyssey. It is a family favorite.

The Book

Initially, the story line opens as Beth is sharing a struggle with Whit and Patrick, her cousin. Beth has seen another girl, Rachel, being teased by a group of girls. Beth chose to do nothing out of fear. Whit gently shares his thoughts and sets Beth and Patrick on a journey through time to Libya. 

The two cousins are thrown into a series of events which lead them to face a real live dragon. However, before they share space in the dragon's cave, see its baby, and help Georgius, a  Roman knight, the two meet and befriend Hazi and Sabra, siblings who live in the village of Silene.

Included in the back of the book are "Questions about Dragons," "Secret Word Puzzle," and an "Interview with Rachel Batson, an author's daughters." These are specifically geared toward the child and offer some insight and fun activities.

My Thoughts

The book is written for 7-12 year olds, but anyone with a love for Adventures in Odyssey will find these books enjoyable.  Vocabulary and sentence structure is not taxing, but not too simplistic either. The story line is adventurous and creates interest in the characters and their experiences in 13th Century Libya. I appreciated how cultural specific items, like dress and employment, were explained within the context of the storyline.

However, the gem of the book lies in its careful attention to applying God's Word to real life situations. Though the dragon in a cave may seem fanciful to readers, the bullying incident Rachel experiences and Beth witnesses, is all too real.

My favorite part in the book is when Whit said,
     "The point is to stand up for what's right, no matter what."
     "But we don't have to stand alone," Beth said. "Georgius helped me remember that God is my help when I face trouble." {p. 127}

A book that can help children apply this vital truth, is a book to read.
~ Dorie

Fine Print: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

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