Saturday, March 19

Voyage with the Vikings, Attack at the Arena by Marianne Hering and Paul McCusker

Travel back in time and sail with the Vikings, meet a Roman emperor, come face-to-face with China’s Kublai Khan, and experience a host of other historical adventures in the new Imagination Station series for young readers, scheduled to launch in 2011 from Tyndale House Publishers and Focus on the Family. The first two books in the series, Voyage with the Vikings and Attack at the Arena, release in March.

Written for early readers, ages 7 and up, the new series features the virtual reality device, the Imagination Station, which is one of the major plot devices used in the Adventures in Odyssey radio series. Nobody knows the inner workings of the mysterious device, invented by Odyssey’s Mr. Whittaker, but with a push of a button, it launches users back in time to experience historical events in-person.

VOYAGE WITH THE VIKINGS

Join cousins Beth and Patrick as they travel back in time to Greenland circa 1000 to find a Viking sunstone! While visiting Whit's Soda Shoppe, the cousins find a mysterious, old letter in Imagination Station asking for Viking sunstone; if the sunstone isn't found then someone named Albert will be imprisoned. Beth and Patrick race through time, meet the Vikings Erik the Red and Leif Eriksson, and locate the sunstone but when they return to the Soda Shoppe another note is waiting for them requesting a silver goblet.

ATTACK AT THE ARENA

The adventure continues! Join cousins Beth and Patrick as they travel through time to fifth-century Rome to locate a missing silver cup. After returning to Whit's after finding the Viking sunstone, another letter is left this time requesting a silver cup that belongs to a monk. If found, this cup may prevent the mysterious Albert from being imprisoned.

Emperor Honorius is hosting a gladiator battle at the Roman Colosseum in honor of a war victory. Beth attends as a slave and Patrick attends as a monk's apprentice, until he is taken prisoner and sent to fight in the arena. While in Rome, the cousins meet Telemachus, a monk that believes fighting is wrong and who is willing to give up his life to stop the killing.

When Beth and Patrick find the cup and return to their time, a new letter is waiting for them with information on the mysterious Albert's fate.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

The series is written by Marianne Herring and Paul McCusker. Herring is a children’s author and editor and McCusker has written and produced hundreds of episodes of Adventures in Odyssey, a nationally-syndicated radio program, as well as the award-winning Focus on the Family Radio Theatre.

MY THOUGHTS

For over 20 years, listeners of all ages have been entertained by the wonderful Adventures in Odyssey series on the radio. I still enjoy listening to these great stories (sometimes even when I'm by myself). Who says these stories are just for kids?

The Imagination Station is a type of time travel machine invented by Mr. Whittaker, who most of us will remember as one of the main characters from the Adventures in Odyssey radio programs. He has some intriguing notes from other time periods in history, which are essentially pleas for help locating certain items. Mr. Whittaker cannot make the journeys through time, but the travels must be made by children.

The kids have some pretty amazing experiences through relevant times in history. Not only does this actually teach history in an exciting way, but it also gives the reader a glimpse into how things really happened.

Beth and Patrick always visit the "Costume Closet" before they embark on each time travel excursion. They are dressed in costumes from that particular era, in order to blend in with the locals.

Their mission in Voyage with the Vikings is to find a Viking Sunstone. In Attack at the Arena, they need to locate a silver chalice. In both stories, they met some very interesting characters and experienced first hand what we can only imagine.

With all the questionable content in kid's books these days, it is so nice to find a great series that kids will truly enjoy. These books are filled with exciting stories and interspersed with Christian values and truth.

I thoroughly enjoyed both of these books and look forward to sharing them with my grandchildren at my very first chance.

Disclosure: I received copies of these two books through Side Door Communications in exchange for my honest review.

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