Our rating: ****½

Young Bisky the mouse and his friends at Redwall are determined to find the four great jewels that were hidden long ago by Gonff, the prince of thieves. Unfortunately, this treasure is also sought after by the raven Korvus Skurr and his hoard of sinister Doomwytes. Solving riddles, braving danger, and meeting many allies along the way, the Redwallers may still be up against more than they bargained for.

I must admit I didn’t go into Doomwyte expecting much. However, I ended up pleasantly surprised. Several funny moments, some riddles, plenty of adventure, and a new sort of villainous threat. I think what really pulled it off for me, though, is the lack of character stereotypes. After so many books in the series, there starts to be almost a standard for “the abbot character,” “the hero character,” and so on. But this one felt fresh and different, while still keeping in the same general feel as the other books. I’d say Doomwyte is worthy to sit on the shelf with the rest of the Redwall series.


Our rating: ****½

The Searat captain Vizka Longtooth captures a young badger, which he decides to tame. But Gorath (the badger) is angry at the rats for killing his grandparents, and he plans to escape as soon as he can. Meanwhile, badger lord Asheye has a dream, telling him that Salamandastron’s new badger ruler will be found defending Redwall Abbey. He sends out perilous hare Mad Maudie to find the badger and bring him back. If that wasn’t complicated enough, Redwall Abbey has also banished a young hedgehog thief, telling him not to come back for a whole season. The resulting tale does indeed end up making sense in true Redwall fashion.

Doing a review of a Redwall book is always a challenge. I have read all eighteen books before this one, and I already have a favorite picked out. That being said, Eulalia! certainly meets expectations. The characters are just as memorable as always, the story just as complicated, and the ending just as satisfying.

Voyage of Slaves

Our rating: *****

Ben and his black Labrador, Ned, becalmed in the Mediterranean Sea, are captured by Arabian slavers. Ned is thrown overboard and left to drown, but he tries to follow his master. Ben and three other young people are sold to Al Misurata, the most feared pirate on the Barbary Coast. Ben creates a strange fascination for Al Misurata, but when Ben speaks out against the pirate’s approval of slavery, he finds himself in very deep trouble. Meanwhile, the almost-drowned Ned is rescued by Herr Otto Kassel, the strongman in the traveling Rizzoli troupe. Fortunately, Al Misurata’s men capture the troupe, reuniting Ben and Ned. Al Misurata keeps up a pretense of just wanting to help the Rizzoli troupe, but Ned uncovers a plot to sell the troupe as slaves. Ben and his faithful hound determine to help the Rizzolis at whatever cost.

Hold onto your hats, friends, this is quite a tale. Like all Brian Jacques’ books, it is packed full of humor, memorable characters and rip-roaring, swashbuckling, edge-of-your-chair adventure. The review only tells about half of the story. So many things happen during Ben’s efforts to save the troupe! Pirates, smugglers, spies, raiders, a shark… This is a great addition to Castaways of the Flying Dutchman and The Angel’s Command.


Our rating: ****

Camp Green Lake doesn’t really have a lake. And it’s not a fun camp. It’s a punishment camp for bad boys, where every boy digs a hole every day to build character. If you find anything interesting, you give it to the Warden. If she likes it, you get the day off. Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake for a crime he didn’t do. He doesn’t mind, because things like this are always happening to his family. They all blame it on his great-great-grandfather, who stole a pig, and seemingly caused the family bad luck. Somehow, the camp’s past is entangled with his family’s past, and with the past of Zero, a supposedly brainless camper.

If Holes sounds like a boring story, let me tell you, it’s not! This is an unbelievably tall tale that is amazingly believable. Sachar’s story is interesting, quirky, funny, and a bit tense. On the subject of tense, I would suggest that if you have anything against poisonous lizards that you don’t read this with the closet door open, at night, or anytime you might feel like you could be assaulted by lizards. The only big problem I found in Holes was a few places where the writing style changed.

Freddy Rides Again

Our rating: ****

Mr. Elihu Margarine and his family have just moved to the Beans’ neighborhood. Mr. Margarine likes to hunt foxes and he rides over everyone’s property, not caring what gets destroyed. And on top of that, a rattlesnake is threatening the lives of several animals. Freddy is determined to stop both menaces, but it’s not an easy task.

Like most of the Freddy series, this is a very funny book. Freddy’s Comanche Kid disguise adds to the humor. I very much recommend that you read this book. Enjoy!