Scholastic, 2009. 978-0-545-09881-6
Synopsis: Eric Hinkle and his friends Julie Rubin and Neal Kroger have discovered the magical land of Droon in Eric’s basement and the three have had many adventures in the land below. In a recent battle, Eric was wounded and now lies in a coma halfway between reality and dreams. Julie and Neal, desperate to find a cure, go searching in the magical city of Samarindo, also known as the city of dreams. Accompanied by Princess Keeah, Pasha, and a little green bird named Isha, the five friends go in search of a way to revive their friend.
Why I picked it up: It was recommended to me by the 11-year-old I baby sit for, who is not a big reader.
Why I finished it: The book is very engaging and imaginative, though I felt it was very short and didn’t offer the reader a lengthy recap of the events that have lead us to this point (alá Harry Potter), which resulted in me feeling a little lost and confused for a few pages until I figured out what was going on. The advantage to having the books in the series be so short is that hesitant readers can make their way through in a relatively short amount of time and because the story is ongoing, gives the reader an incentive to continue reading. I was surprised that the book was so epic for a series written for upper elementary kids – it reminded me a little bit of Lord of the Rings sans the grand expository descriptive paragraphs. I did have a hard time following some of the relationships between the characters and their roles in the story, but I blame this on the fact that I didn’t start the series at the beginning (I’m so naughty, starting series in the middle!). I also enjoyed the pictures sprinkled throughout the chapters that gave a sense of the setting and the plot. The book is very exciting, as I was promised it would be, but I daresay that I will enjoy it more when I go back to the beginning.
Other related materials: The Secrets of Droon series by Tony Abbott; Kringle by Tony Abbott; Firegirl by Tony Abbott; The Postcard by Tony Abbott; Dragon Slayers’ Academy books by Kate McMullan; Beast Quest books by Adam Blade; Zac Power books by H.I. Larry; Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne; Dinosaur Cove books by Rex Stone; The Mysterious Benedict Society books by Trenton Lee Stewart; The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger; Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger; The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan