Title: The Shadow of Atlantis (Shadows From the Past, Book 1)
Author: Wendy Leighton-Porter
Year Published: 2012
Publisher: Mauve Square Publishing
Recommended Age: 8+
GRANDMOTHER – GRANDSON BOOK REVIEW:
GRANDSON’S (Blade - 7 ¾ years old) BOOK REVIEW:
What is the book about: This book is about a cat and how its owners disappear in a mist or cloud to the ancient city of Atlantis, before it got lost. The children discover how the mist comes back and they go into it with their cat, Max. The Cat in the story ends up saving the children and he also helps them save many good people of Atlantis by warning them before it sinks into the ocean from earthquakes!
What do you think of the cover and/or pictures in this book? I thought the cover was interesting with the sunken city and the big cat in front. I think this chapter book needed more sketches (line illustrations) of what was going on in the story like the Magic Treehouse series has.
What is your favorite part of the book? My favorite part is when the two cats work together to outsmart the high priest in getting the cell key to free the children the priests had locked up. My second favorite part was the temple sacrifice to Poseidon because I like gory stories.
What is your least favorite part of the book? My least favorite part is when the children first come through the mist and meet and play with Varna of Atlantis and the other Atlantean children.
Is there anything in the book that doesn’t make sense? Why were they sacrificing to Poseidon? I thought his son was Percy Jackson.
What did you learn from this book? I learned that Atlantis is a very legendary and interesting place and I would like to go find Atlantis! I would like to read the next book in this series.
Who do you think would like this book? I think some kids my age in second grade and older would like this book.
Grandson’s Rating: ★★★★★
GRANDMA’S (CILLYart) BOOK REVIEW:
BOOK SUMMARY: The Shadow of Atlantis by Wendy Leighton-Porter is an engaging chapter book for young readers (ages 7 -12) about 10 year old twins, Joe and Jemima Lancelot, their Tonkenese cat, Max, and their neighborhood friend, Charlie. The story begins at the mysterious disappearance of the twins’ parents and the only clues to be found were an old wooden chest, an ancient book, a key charm on a gold chain, and two sets of footprints on dusty floor of their attic. Their uncle, an archeology professor, becomes their legal guardian and takes them into their home to raise them until their parents are found. As the shock of their parent’s disappearance wanes, the children meet and become friends with the neighbor boy, Charlie. With their uncle’s permission, the children are able to look at the old chest and book, soon realizing that the charm on the chain that belonged to their mother was a key to opening the mystical magic of the ancient book. Max, the cat is close at hand as they figure out how to open the book and begin reading the first part, witness the strange mist that forms in the middle of the room, and find additional charms hidden in part of the wooden chest’s worn velvet lining. Curiosity overcomes the children and they go inside the mist and find themselves transported to the ancient city of Atlantis. They meet and become friends with an ancient Atlantean family whose daughter, Varna, is about their age. Knowing that the ancient city of Atlantis was to succumb to some disaster, the three children try to convince Varna and her family of the city’s pending doom. Eventually, their strange fair looks, clothing and warnings are noticed by the priests of the temple of the god, Poseidon. They remembered the strange man and woman that came months before that warned of some catastrophe to strike Atlantis that the priests and an angry mob had driven out before. To conserve the control the priests had over the people of Atlantis, they plot the capture of the strange children and their odd cat. When the cat and the children disappear, Varna’s family and neighbors are alarmed and become more certain that the children’s warnings are truthful, especially when Atlantis begins to experience earth tremors. Max the cat is able to escape and with the help of magic from the charm attached to his collar, he leads Varna to the other children and they are able to help free Joe, Jemima and Charlie. When the temple priests realize their captives have escaped, they go after them, but Varna’s family and their friends run them off, angry at how they treated their guests. Meanwhile, the earth tremors are increasing in number and intensity and the Atlanteans that know Joe, Jemima and Charlie heed their warnings just in time.
MY THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed this simple story of mystery, magic, and myth and thought that the author did an excellent job in engaging her readers, especially younger readers from second to sixth grade. The ten year old characters in the story seem true to the age of a ten year old boy and girl, and also her portrayal of the policeman investigating the disappearance of the Lancelot parents, the archeology professor, a matronly housekeeper, and an ancient Greek family and people of in Atlantis. The plot was simple enough to be followed by young readers, yet tantalizing enough to keep them reading to find out how the modern children and the good Atlantean people they came to know were saved from the impending doom of this fabled city. However, I thought the way the author used apostrophe-like marks at the beginning and ending of sentences instead of quotation marks was very odd. Also, I noticed that this author also uses a few old clichés in her writing, which I’ve heard is undesirable for descriptive writing. Cliches, such as “Does that ‘ring any bells?’ ” (for ‘ring a bell,’ meaning does it ‘sound familiar?’), are not usually understood by young readers.
OVERALL: I think this is a delightful story that will intrigue young readers, their families and teachers for individual reading, story time and reading groups! The fact that the children realize that their parents were the previous strangers that gave the initial warning of impending doom to the inhabitants of Atlantis, they had new hope that their parents were still alive and just lost in the ancient world. With their magical charms, they also have great hope of returning to the ancient world to find them, hence the Shadow of…Series is born. When I read this and shared it with my grandson, we both felt a great desire to read the next book to find out what happens and hope to read it very soon!
Grandma’s rating: ★★★★½
CILLYart and Granchildren/Grankiddles:
Cindy (aka CILLYart) is the author-illustrator of two children’s chapter books for young readers, a certified, experienced, elementary school teacher and a blogs about her book projects and other related things on cillyart4u.blogspot.com, on her CILLYart4u facebook page and her CILLYart4U website. She has recently written her third book and is currently doing the illustrations for this fun, new story. Cindy has 6 children and now 4 grandchildren and 9 great-nieces and nephews that she calls her “grankiddles.” They all love story time and reading children’s books! Most of the grandchildren/grankiddles live far away from Cindy, so she tries to keep in touch by phone, email, facebook and occasional trips to see family! A favorite of several of the 13 grankiddles is the Magic Treehouse book series for its fun magic and mystery components. The oldest of all of these grankiddles is writing her very first book!
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