By Barbara Schultz,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Entertaining but violent series weaves fantasy with history.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Bobby Pendragon goes back in time to the United States at the time of World War II. Readers will gain some historical knowledge about the war and the way it was perceived by Americans. Bobby also meets Amelia Earhart and witnesses the Hindenburg disaster, so readers will learn about Earhart's life, and about the lives lost on the Hindenburg; they will also learn generally about air travel during the 1930s.
Bobby Pendragon shows readers: If you have a special gift, use it to help others. Bobby's adventures also illustrate how important it is to respect the culture and traditions of foreign lands; peace between peoples requires mutual respect and understanding.
Positive Role Models
Bobby's mentor is his Uncle Press, a seasoned Traveler, who teaches Bobby survival skills and encourages him to use his gift to help the world.
Violence & Scariness
Throughout the Pendragon series, violent events occur involving individuals being clawed to death and/or eaten by animalistic creatures. In the World War II-era scenes, Bobby finds out about soldiers being shot and killed. The Hindenburg airship explodes, killing 35 passengers. Some violent passages include descriptions of blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Bobby Pendragon has a girlfriend, Courtney, and they kiss and hold hands. At the end of the series, Bobby is an adult with a wife and readers "see" that they sleep in the same bed. Before he settles down, Bobby is tempted by a girl called Loor, but they just flirt with each other.
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Curse words are used: "damn," "hell," "bulls--t."
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Products & Purchases
Product mentions include Sprite, Coke, McDonald's.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke tobacco during the World War II-era scenes to set the time period of the scene. Those parts also depict adult passengers on the Queen Mary drinking wine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the 10-volume Pendragon series tells the story of Bobby Pendragon, a space/time "Traveler" who learns to use his special gifts to protect the inhabitants of Halla -- the fantastical world where he lives -- from the diabolical villain Saint Dane. Like Harry Potter, Bobby -- age 14 in Book 1, The Merchant of Death -- grows up as the series progresses and becomes more skilled at using his powers. The books include a few curse words ("damn," "hell," "bulls--t"), the occasional boy-girl kiss, and a couple of scenes with adults smoking tobacco or drinking wine. Of more concern may be the degree of violence. Sensitive readers may be upset by the books' mention of dead and wounded soldiers, the Hindenburg disaster, and fantastical creatures that kill with claws and teeth.
Where to Read
Based on 2 parent reviews
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Edgy and keeps him reading!
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What's the Story?
In D.J. MacHale's 10-volume PENDRAGON series, middle-schooler Bobby Pendragon discovers he is a Traveler, meaning he has special powers that allow him to travel from one planet, or \"territory,\" to another within Halla (all the territories combined). Bobby's mentor, Uncle Press, is also a Traveler, and he guides Bobby in a mission to prevent the evil Saint Dane from destroying Halla. Bobby also time-travels to visit World War II-era America, where he witnesses the Hindenburg disaster and learns about tragic events in the war. Bobby is often assisted in his mission by his friends, Courtney and Mark. Along the way, Bobby learns survival skills, including the importance of respecting the traditions and values of each world he visits. Fourteen years old when the series begins, Bobby grows up over the course of the series, becoming more adept at using his learned and natural powers.
Is It Any Good?
The Pendragon fantasy-adventure series is very popular with middle-grade readers, particularly boys, with good reason. While these books don't have the same balanced level of humor, feeling and character development that the great Harry Potter series has, D.J. MacHale creates a fascinating, original world where the stakes are always high and readers are constantly in suspense.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Do you think Bobby is lucky to be a Traveler? If you could travel back in time, what time and place would you visit?
Pendragon bears some similarity to other fantasy series like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. If you've read these, or others, what are the similarites and differences?
Learn more about World War II by reading great books like these: Bomb, Mare's War, War Horse.
- Author: D. J. MacHale
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publishers: Aladdin, Simon & Schuster
- Publication date: September 1, 2002
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 15
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, App
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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