The Rock of Sarraka by Gary Karton
Review 4 star
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The Rock of Sarraka (A Spirit Animal Adventure) by Gary Karton is the second book about Brody Boondoggle, a boy who—thanks to a rare creature called an Akaway—can assume the physical abilities of any animal he thinks of and help connect other children to their spirit animals. Spirit animals form a special bond to a child and guide him/her through adventures and the spirit animal realm, Sarraka, is reached through portals from our world. But Brody’s former best friend, Rudy, has become jealous of Brody’s powers and turned against him. Brody and his team must race to stop Rudy from stealing the Rock of Sarraka. Something bigger is threatening Sarraka and the whole realm is in danger of being destroyed.
The Rock of Sarraka is great entertainment for young children. With numerous obstacles for Brody to face and inventive puzzles for he and his gang to solve on their desperate journey to get into Sarraka, the tale rolls along nicely. Rudy was a charming little jerk I was almost tempted to root for a couple of times and I liked the way characters who at first appeared simple were made surprisingly complex, such as Rosalina’s supposedly evil grandmother La Tarantula. But Brody’s relationships with his friends (including Punching Crab, the world’s cutest comedy crab) kept him at the center of the story. Gary Karton also manages to work in a lot of facts about the natural world, so it doubles as a light educational resource on extinct animals, who appear often in the story, and on vocabulary--humorously and painlessly introduced. A really nice book.
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