by National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Category: Copyright 2011
Personal Evaluation: I was intrigued by the many famous authors who contributed a chapter to this story and wanted to see if they could make anything coherent out of it. Having Jon Scieszka write the first chapter was probably one of the smartest moves since he started it off with a bang – and a wacky bang at that. The other authors, many of whom strike me as more mild-mannered than their chapter reflected, showed me that they were able to take up the challenge and contribute to the adventure and whimsical nature of the story. However, they still retained their style and I could tell a difference between authors, and it actually came together at the end. The whimsical parts seemed way over the top, but I think that actually worked in the book’s favor since most readers will know that this was a special circumstance kind of book and most of the authors would not write such a book on their own.
What might interest children: This is one fast-paced adventure story, with a brother-sister protagonist pair at the center. They had believed themselves to be orphans and then find out that their magical parents are alive. There are tons of twists and turns and previously-unknown-but-spontaneously-useful (ie made up to fit the storyline as needed) facts and lots of cliffhangers, all of which are fun and exciting for readers. Maybe if kids don’t know that the premise was for a bunch of best-selling kids’ book authors to each write a chapter of a story, it might fall flat, but if they know then it’s more exciting to pick out their favorite authors’ chapters.