- Paperback: 168 pages
- Publisher: freshabooks (22 May 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 3963267771
- ISBN-13: 978-3963267772
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 295 g
- Customer Reviews:
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
49,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #4170 in Action & Adventure for Children
Legend of the Star Runner: A Timmi Tobbson Adventure (Solve-Them-Yourself Mysteries for Kids 8-12) Paperback – 22 May 2018
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- "A splendid homage to adventure"
- "A visual feast"
A spirited trio of kid sleuths undertake a classic treasure hunt in J. I. Wagner's Legend of the Star Runner. Taking its inspiration from video games and cloak-and-dagger mysteries, this story for middle-grade readers is a visual feast.<br \><br \>
Lilli's grandfather is facing eviction. With the prospect of a pirate's treasure guiding them, she and her best friends, Marvin andTimmi, set out to find the loot to rescue him from his debts. A large-hearted, naïve, and wildly improbable plot delights as the fearless team - led by a treasure hunter - lands in a series of underground worlds.<br \><br \>
Several twists and turns hinge on pure luck, timing, and uncanny perceptions. A reliance on video-game staples, including hidden passageways, trapdoors, puzzles, maps, and multiple-choice paths, sometimes threatens to turn the book into a high-concept maze. Still, what the story misses in the depth of its background, the illustrations make up for; they are smart compositions using chromatic palettes and feature clues. From a cluttered kitchen to the check-in desk at the Savoy to a wall of keys at an archive, scenes set a distinct mood for the story.<br \><br \>
The tone is wisely calibrated; it's neither overly terrifying nor overly lighthearted. The perils the group encounter pose enough danger to build suspense yet leave room for escape. There's seldom doubt that the kids will prevail, considering their Holmesian knack for observation; the book's pleasure rests in their citywide ranging that peels back history to reveal the secrets of a legendary pirate embedded in their midst.<br \><br \>
A list of fun facts lists the book's film influences, which include Pirates of the Caribbean, and a section of hints offers insights written in reverse. With the exuberance of a caper, determined protagonists, and a message steeped in family legacy, this first in a planned series is a splendid homage to adventure.
Reviewed by Karen Rigby
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. --Foreword Magazine, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
Each chapter ending features one beautiful illustration, showing the challenge Timmi, Lilli and Marvin are currently facing. Examining the picture will allow the reader to find a solution and help them get through the adventure.
Read Examine Solve!
]]in a bold adventure story]]
Grandpa is in deep trouble. Following the clues concealed within a centuries-old family legacy, Timmi Tobbson and his friends hope to save the day.
But only twenty-four hours remain to unravel the legend of a long-lost pirate ship, buried somewhere deep beneath the city streets.
Unbeknownst to them, their search awakens a mystical dark power, sworn to protect what is hidden on board the once famous Star Runner.
]]about friendship, perseverance and courage]]
These character traits aid our protagonists in their race against time and adversity. In a very unobtrusive manner, the story shows that when push comes to shove, inner values matter most.
]]that gets kids' eyes off screens and onto paper.
Video games are great fun. Kids and adults alike highly value their entertainment factor which results in less books being read. One of the reasons for the success of video games is that every few minutes the player is rewarded, leading them to frequently experience a feeling of achievement.
This book is designed to achieve the same. It is divided into 31 brief chapters, each of which ends by confronting the reader with a question to be answered by examining a beautiful illustration. The result is not only highly entertaining, but also equally rewarding, capable of capturing the attention of today's video gamers.
From the Publisher
Where was the ancient key hidden?
A mysterious riddle describes a secret hiding place in Granpa's attic.
(This is a sample from the book. All pictures are cropped. Solving the puzzle requires reading the story.)
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Top international reviews
1. Some of the illustrations are so dark, it was hard to see possible clues.
2. There’s an extremely random moment when an adult character shouts “Jesus!” in anger. There isn’t any other adult language in the book (at least not that I can remember), and this totally comes out of left field. Regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs, this is a REALLY strong word for a children’s book, and admittedly, it had me on edge for the rest of the story, worried that there might be another instance of language that I might not catch in time and inadvertently say to my 7 year old. Thankfully, there wasn’t, but geez. Tip: next time, don’t put random language in a kid’s book.
Now I also bought this book for my nephew, who is in 6th grade and has dyslexia / dysgraphia. This is the first book he begs to read another chapter of.
The puzzles are unlike those of any other book. Your kid becomes a detective and needs to combine the information given in the story with what can be inferred from the chapter’s illustration. In the back of the book you can find hints, offering some help if you get stuck. To sum it up:
- Engaging story about helping Lilli’s grandpa (a treasure hunt NOT motivated by greed)
- Very different main characters to identify with (e.g. ranging from very sensitive to very outgoing)
- Short chapters (three pages) making it accessible to kids lacking reading experience
- A full page color illustration at the end of each chapter
- A puzzle to solve at the end of each chapter (e.g. How could we tell a painting had been stolen?)
- Hints at the end of the book (can be read by looking at the writing in a mirror)
- Bonus: Hidden numbers in each illustration work as a passcode to enter a secret area on the website of the book
Honestly, I thought this might be a bit much for my 6-YO, but he was very engaged and very good at picking out hidden clues in the illustrations. Only on some of the harder ones did I need to provide some additional clues for him. And only on the hardest puzzles did I need to refer to the clues at the end of the book (designed to be read in a mirror).
We both ended up having great fun with this, and can't wait till the next installment. If I have one reservation, it's that the re-reading potential is lower due to having solved the puzzles already.
*Update: We solved the puzzle at the end and were pleasantly surprised with the author himself, sending us an email! He then sent us a signature book “plate” (a sticker to place inside our book) and a letter! This was so much more than we ever expected.
We are eagerly awaiting the next book.
Definitely worth a read.