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“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”
Publisher: Algonquin Books, Algonquin Young Readers Imprint, 2015
Summary: When Prudence "Pru" Potts found the postcard under the door, she thought it curious. When she held it up and her mom didn't seem to see it, Pru found the whole thing even more curious. For days, Middleton had been shrouded in dark clouds and continual thunder. Could the two be related? She had to find out. When Mrs. Edelman paired Pru with ABE, the new student, for a Norse mythology project, Pru wasn't happy. ABE was going to cramp her style. What she quickly (and grudgingly) discovered was that she needed ABE's help. The duo was starting to connect the dots ... but what did they mean? According to the now-you-see-him-now-you-don't Mr. Fox and Ratatosk, it was up to Pru and ABE to save Middleton. Were they up to the task? This is the first book in the middle grade fantasy series about the Fantasy Investigation Bureau (F.I.B.).
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 to 13
Interest Level: 9 to 12
Reading Level: 5
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is an enjoyable read, with plenty of adventure and action to keep young readers turning the page. Don't write this off as a "girl book," just because the main character is Pru. All budding detectives will see themselves in this story. The author does a great job building a story with ties to mythology (as others have done). as well as the idea that kids see magic adults don't. Although it sounds familiar, The Trickster's Tale is fresh and young readers embark on a new adventure. They will relate to Pru, ABE, and even Ms. Edelman. Prudence and ABE make a great pair, and it is fun to watch the friendship of two personalities develop. The secondary theme of this story is that Pru is grappling with the death of her father, a police detective. This element doesn't weigh down the story, but it does open the door for discussions about parental loss.
Pros: Lots of action, familiar stories (parallels to other mythologies), and relatable characters will have readers asking for Book 2 just as they close book 1.
Cons: None really. As mentioned, Pru is dealing with the death of her father.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a great choice for home libraries, especially if you want a book to share with children of different ages.
Educational Themes: The Trickster's Tale is a classic across many cultures and is inclusive of both mythology and fables. It creates opportunities to contrast and compare, as well as "predict" plot elements in both class and home settings. Pru and ABE have different approaches to looking at facts ... talk about the pluses and minuses of each. Both characters can also open discussions about empathy, compassion, understanding (and misunderstanding), as well as friendship.
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.