Parents' Guide to

The Book of Wonders

By Sally Engelfried, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Exciting adventure with girl hero and Arabian Nights flavor.

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THE BOOK OF WONDERS has many elements of a classic adventure, starting with a brave heroine on a quest to find a magic talisman to help her save the day. During Zardi's journey she is challenged by a Cyclops, the queen of the snakes, and an evil wizard, and only through her bravery, intelligence, and loyalty can she emerge triumphant. Zardi is likable, spunky. and virtually perfect -- her only fault is feeling guilty when she doesn't help others enough. Obstacles are overcome easily, such as when she and her friends are attacked by Rocs (the mythical birds of prey), and Zardi suddenly discovers she can understand animal language. This may frustrate some readers but comfort others, especially those in the younger age range.

The action occasionally gets bogged down by flat dialogue and a distracting variety of dialogue attributes (characters whisper, warble, growl, and grind out their words). Still, for a reader who can't get enough swashbuckling action in exotic locales, this will serve nicely. A sequel is a given.

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