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Book reviews: Children’s books to be featured at reading camp

Emily Krall/For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Book review
Courtesy Photo

Editor’s note: This week’s book review features three titles to be featured in a session of Reading on Ranches Camp, which begins June 13. Visit mybooktrails.org for more information on the camp and to register.

“A Series of Small Maneuvers,” by Eliot Treichel

Grade level: 7-12



Ultimate Survival Camp, Aug. 1 through 5, grades 6 through 8

“A Series of Small Maneuvers” is one of the best young-adult stories I’ve read in recent memory. Eliot Treichel is the latest winner of the Reading the West Award for this survival tale, told through the eyes of 15-year-old Emma Wilson. Emma and her father are on a camping trip in New Mexico when her father is killed in a tragic accident.



The story feels incredibly real as Emma is transported in time through segments of her life, leaving the reader desperate to turn the page and discover what happens next. As she navigates the heart-wrenching new world of grief her family endures, Emma also examines the outdoor survival techniques and decisions she employed in the backcountry during the accident.

Reminiscent of Gary Paulsen’s “The Hatchet,” this is a fantastic read for teens and adults alike.

“The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1),” by Rick Riordan

Grade Level: 4-9

Camp Half Blood, July 25 through 29, grades 3 through 6

Fans of the Lightning Thief series, are in for a real treat with Riordan’s new Magnus Chase series. Without giving too many of the plot surprises away, the new series introduces Magnus, an orphan with a mysterious past living on the streets of Boston.

His life is turned upside down when his long-lost cousins warn him of a life-threatening enemy. He soon discovers he is related to the Norse Gods and enters a world of Viking mythology that is real and in which the threats are dire: There are trolls, giants and more. This tale will keep you up reading at night, engulfed in Norse Mythology as much as Magnus’ story.

“Tales of the Fallen Beasts: Spirit Animals Special Edition,” by Brandon Mull

Grade Level: 3-7

Spirit Animals Camp, June 27 through Aug. 1, grades 3-5

“Tales of the Fallen Beasts” is a great way to stay engaged in the Spirit Animals series while waiting for the next installment of the series to be published. This special-edition tale takes you to the world of Erdas in five short stories with new characters.

An evil villain named Zerif is invading the land and spreading a virus-like worm to the spirit animals and their companions. The worm causes the characters to enter a zombie-like state in which they are loyal to Zerif and his evil plans.

The book answers some questions about the Fall Beasts and gives additional details about how the new series started. This is a great companion book to the new Fallen Beast series and will delight Spirit Animal fans.

Emily Krall is executive director of BookTrails.


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