Golden Nutmeg

REVIEW: The Golden Nutmeg by Christopher Tozier

Summary


Revel Harrison loves soccer. Video games or school he could take or leave, but he eats, sleeps and breathes soccer.

His team, the Fighting Pomelos, isn’t very good. They have moments of brilliance, but their coach is a volunteer who doesn’t know a lot about technique. He doesn’t really even know the names of the kids on the team.

But Revel has potential. His friends know it. So does the coach. The local travel team is even scouting him. But travel teams are expensive. There’s the uniform and specific equipment and all sorts of fees. On a regular day, that would be a lot of money. But Revel’s mom just lost her job. And then his dad loses his job, too. Maybe it would be better if Revel just stuck with the Pomelos. Maybe soccer isn’t all Revel thought it was.

Review


I received a copy of this book from the author along with a review request. In return, I promised an honest review of the book.

This story is very heavy on soccer details. In 165 pages, there are five games and several practices. I think this would appeal to kids who love soccer and play it a lot. They’ll understand the different positions and game rules and maybe be able to picture the action. Kids who don’t play soccer may have a harder time engaging with this book.

The story around the games felt thin to me. There were things going on with Revel’s parents and then another plot point with a guy on the soccer team. I didn’t feel those parts got the same attention as the soccer games. Since I am not big on soccer, it was harder for me to enjoy the story without a more balanced treatment of the different plot points.

In the hands of the right reader, this could be a great story. I was not that reader. In a school setting, I might have had luck finding an audience for this, but it would not have had wide-spread appeal for my students. My rating for this one is based on finding readers who love soccer like the main character does. For a more general audience, my rating would have to be a little lower.  This seems to be marketed as more of a middle grade story, but I feel this would be a better fit for a younger reader who needs a simpler story line or perhaps an older elementary student who struggles to stick with a longer, more intricate plot.

Rating: ♥♥♥

Eagle of Rome

REVIEW: The Eagle of Rome by Dan Metcalf

Summary


It’s 1928. Lottie Lipton lives at the British Museum with her Uncle Bert who is the Curator of Egyptology there. One day adventurer extraordinaire, Lady Viola, shows up at the museum, announcing she is off to find the Eagle of the Ninth Legion. She’s at the museum to check their library for clues.

Lady Viola is one of Lottie’s idols. But once the reporters are gone, Viola turns from gracious and sophisticated to rude and ruthless. While Lottie would put the missing Eagle into the museum so everyone could enjoy it, Viola wants it so she can sell it to finance her vacations. So Lottie vows to find it first.

Lottie, Uncle Bert and Reg, the museum’s caretaker, will have to solve several logic puzzles if they’re going to beat Lady Viola to the Eagle!

Review


This is a cute, simple book with puzzles embedded into the story (with solutions). Lottie is sweet and values learning and art for the masses. The fast story means we don’t get to know her very well, but she is likable from the start.

The puzzles are fun and appear to be set up so the reader doesn’t see the solution until he/she turns the page (I saw an early electronic arc, so I don’t know what the final version will look like). There are bonus puzzles in the back matter along with vocabulary and facts related to the book.

Good for early elementary elementary classrooms and readers starting to test out short chapter books.

Thanks to Netgalley and Darby Creek Publishing for providing and electronic review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: ♥♥♥