Victoria Whipple's Reviews > The Emerald Atlas

The Emerald Atlas by John  Stephens
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's review
Mar 27, 2012

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bookshelves: adventure, family, magic, mystery, tcp, thms, world-of-faerie
Read in March, 2012

The first page of The Emerald Atlas hooked me in. Three children are taken from their parents late on Christmas Eve. The oldest, then 4, is charged by the mother with the task of taking care of her 2 younger siblings. What a load to put on a 4 year old! The children go from orphanage to orphanage where conditions get worse and worse. When one more adoptee is put off by the kids, they are sent to an orphange of last resort, or so they think. They were actually brought there by a wizard who knew their parents and who knows of the connections they have to the magical world, even though the kids are unaware of it. The children become involved in the search for a magical book, the "Atlas". They also become involved with a witch, dwarves, and a hidden civilization. The action is non-stop, the children are brave and resourceful, the villians vile, and the helpful adults fearless. The only drawback to this book is the time traveling--not so much the time traveling itself, but the confusion that ensues when the characters discuss it. The Atlas gives the kids the power to go back and forth in time, which is necessary to retrieve the Atlas and keep it from the evil clutches of the witch. However, when the story stops so that Dr. Pym can explain all the back and forth in time, the reader can get lost. It was enough for this reader to know the kids were moving through time to meet certain aims, but when the author stopped to explain it I got lost. Nonetheless, this book has realistic characters, nonstop action, and a cliffhanger to keep readers pining for the next installment. Perfect for Gr. 3 on up through 8.

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