A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This is a blond, blue-eyed world, in which only the bandits have ethnic features, and gender roles are clear and traditional. But siblings do work together to stop crime and save lives.
Products & Purchases
There is a soda product placement on the side of a plane.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's nothing to be concerned about here, aside from a little subtle ethnic and gender stereotyping. Siblings work together to stop crime and save lives. An author's note tells about the original Vin Fiz, the Wright brothers' plane.
Is It Any Good?
Cussler is a well-known author of adult books, but, as often happens when adult writers try to make the transition to kids' books, he underestimates the difficulty -- and his audience. The premise is fantastic enough (kids use a magical plane to stop crime and save lives), but the tone is condescending at best. The story is filled with cutesy names (Ever and Ima Nicefolk, Stoke and Blaze Firepit, etc.), cutesy phrases ("in less time than it takes to say 'dingle, fingle, gingle ...'"), and logical holes big enough to fly a biplane through.
Cussler has a habit of didactically explaining some of his vocabulary. Worst of all, however, is the ending, which reads as if the author just lost interest in his own story. Of course his readers may have lost interest long before that. This may have worked as a bedtime story for Cussler's grandchildren, but as a book, it's weak.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate