*** (3) out of 5 stars
This book is number two in a series. It literally drops you right in the middle of the action. (In the middle of a frozen river, no less – by Santa!) With no background, it was hard to figure out what in the world was going on. For readers of the first volume, I am sure that it made much more sense. But, really, I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the kids’ exploits were, where they got their resources or funding, why they had passports but didn’t have them stamped from any of the countries they’d visited, and later it didn’t even sound like they were human – but I have no idea why.
The book itself though was very clever and unique. I loved the use of real photographs as the background, especially scenes of wildlife and their habitats. The little bits of information on many of the pages were quite interesting, whether about the topic at hand or some other related thing.
I think kids would love the multi-media format, especially in an eBook, which is how I read it (on an iPad). If it comes in a print copy, I’m not sure that it would have the same effect. Although I did have quite a bit of difficulty getting some of the more graphically heavy pages to load.
There were many inconsistencies that I found quite annoying. Like how Suki says the iPad and solar pad aren’t working, and then shortly thereafter she is thrusting the iPad at Finch so that he can talk to his grandmother. Not to mention that the entire episode of him being sick was just weird, especially if the kids are not in fact real humans. I found it especially odd that everyone they saw either spoke English or they were magically able to translate every language that they heard. Not to mention the one nightgown that Suki turned into heart decorations for tons of trees across several countries. That is one big nightgown!
All of the fantasy type elements of the story detracted a bit from the information presented, at least for me. But I could handle the talking animals and such, even Santa’s presence; but the woodland fairy was a bit too much.
Overall, the one word I would sum it up with is: Eh. Not horrible, not wonderful, just somewhere in between. But, again, I probably would have enjoyed it much more if I had read the first book in the series and had some idea of what was going on!
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.