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THE KEEPERS: THE BOX AND THE DRAGONFLY

Author: Ted Sanders

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Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 2015

Material: paperback

Summary: Did that building really have his name painted on the side? Horace F.Andrews had to know. It wasn't his name that he saw, but a sign for the House of Answers. Horace was looking answers! Once inside, Horace found bins and bins of stuff. Before he had a chance to explore, a Mrs. Hapsteade told to come back tomorrow. On his second visit, Horace met Mr. Meister, who answered a few of his questions (but not many). He explained to Horace that the wooden box he had just chosen was part of the Find; a process of becoming as one with his magical object. What was so magical about this box? why did he feel so connected to it? who was this Dr. Jericho he was supposed to avoid? Discovering the House of Answers was raising more questions than answers! This is the first book in a middle grade fantasy series set in Chicago.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader, reluctant reader

Recommended Age: read together: 9 and Up; 10 and Up

Interest Level: 10 and Up

Reading Level: 4.7

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: This was a fun book to read. It has suspense, a bit of creepiness, and plenty of unique magic. Horace (science geek) and Chloe (angry skeptic) are realistic, well matched, and engaging characters. There is an ensemble of characters who offer additional mystery and interesting personal dynamics. The magic had a Mary Poppin-ish feel to it: ancient and sometimes whimsical, but also with dark edges. Although there are Harry Potter comparisons, The Keepers stands on its own for a refreshing, intriguing story.

Pros: Magical instruments, engaging characters, and plenty of action will keep readers spellbound and searching for answers.

Cons: There were times when I found the jargon difficult to keep straight (e.g., tan'ji, tan'kindi, tanu), and would expect it may confuse some readers. The glossary in the back helps, as does continuing to keep reading.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. Highly recommend this for family read aloud time, as well as a gift for readers who love magical stories.

If You Liked This Book, Try: SEPTIMUS HEAP: MAGYK (Book One)   THE MAGIC THIEF (Book 1)   CYNTHIA'S ATTIC: THE MISSING LOCKET

Educational Themes: This is primarily a story to read for fun. Horace is into science, and there is plenty of it to explore beyond the pages of The Keepers: time travel, transferring matter, absentmindedness, among others. Chloe and Horace (individually and together) offer readers relationship events that can start conversations: loss of parent (abandonment); parental addiction; homelessness; trust v. faith; honesty and ethics.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, adventure, magic, friendship, middle grade series, time travel

Date(s) Reviewed: April 2016

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.




                 

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