Adventures in Odyssey The Imagination Station&#0174; Series #8: Battle for Cannibal Island
Kids Historical Fiction at its Best!
We've been reading the most recent 2 books in the Imagination Station series, Battle for Cannibal Island (yes, CANNIBAL Island, which is the story of an incredibly brave Christian missionary who cared more about seeing cannibals in Fiji saved than about his own life) and Escape to the Hiding Place which is the amazing story of Corrie Ten Boom. Receiving this last book in the mail was incredibly timely--the day before we'd just finished listening to the audio book "The Hiding Place" on the way back from a roadtrip. (By the way, if you've never read about Corrie Ten Boom, get your hands on the movie "The Hiding Place". It's an amazing, inspiring true story filled with miracles and God's grace.)
Each book in this series features two kids, Beth and Patrick, as the main characters who end up on historical adventures where they meet knights in shining armor, pilgrims, Egyptians, you name it. The books have mystery, real faith, and adventure. These books are are written at a 2nd grade reading level, but even I was captured with the stories! Definitely page turners--each one. And each one makes you want to research the true history deeper. My kids love history! And these books are part of the reason why.
As a homeschooling mom, I use these as part of my history curriculum. Yes, historical fiction may be a bit unorthodox, but it grabs my children's interest, real-life characters are featured in these books, and the authors stick as close to possible to real life events as can be expected with 2nd graders historical fiction. This is my favorite series for this age level and I couldn't recommend it more highly! Kind of like Magic Treehouse but MUCH better!
January 17, 2013
Adventure and learning
Serving and sacrificing for others. Spiritual warfare. The difference once person can make. These are the themes in the latest Imagination Station book, Battle for Cannibal Island.
Once again Wayne Thomas Batson and Marianne Hering's tell the tale of young cousins Beth and Patrick. This time, Patrick has a bad attitude about going to his grandmother's birthday party. Going means missing a ball game, which hardly seems fair to him. So, without permission, Patrick starts up the Imagination Station, looking for adventure. In trying to stop him, Beth ends up on board, too.
The machine takes them to a ship in the 19th century. At first, the cousins fear it's a pirate ship. After all, the men on board talk like pirates - and one even has a wooden leg. But they are actually on an English navy vessel anchored near Fiji. The trouble is, Fiji is a land of cannibals, and Toki, the leader of them all, isn't to be trusted.
But James Calvert, a missionary whose been teaching the Fijians about Christ, guides the cousins and the crew as they experience adventure after adventure. First, Toki brings a boat near the ship, and war is feared. Then a large storm comes and Patrick and a sailor fall into the sea. They drift to the island - but they aren't safe there; Toki is on the hunt for them. Beth sneaks into the rescue boat, but ends up falling into the ocean. Patrick confronts Toki about his lack of faith in Christ. Toki replies:
"I hate the teachings of [God]! Your God would be King and change our ways. He would make us weak with words like 'love your enemies.' I am king. I kill and eat my enemies."
Yet when Toki finally admits he isn't all powerful and Patrick reminds him the Christian God will forgive him, something in Toki changes.
Toki sees Beth struggling in the sea, and throws a spear her direction. Thinking Toki means harm, one of the sailors shoots the Fijian king. But it turns out Toki was killing a stingray threatening Beth. The English sailors set to healing Toki. The warriar opens his eyes briefly, and Calvert prays with him. Toki promises that if God lets him live, he will never kill Christians again. "Do ye repent?" Calvert asks. "I repent," Toki says.
The Imagination Station reappears and Beth and Patrick go back home. There, their mentor Mr. Whittacker tells them more about Calvert:
"Not many people cared about telling the cannibal tribes about Jesus. But Calbert and other missionaries gave their lives to do it. There were tens of thousands of Fijian Christians when Calvert left Fiji. And the cannibalism had stopped...Mr. Calvert kept reaching out to [Toki]. That's what Jesus call us to do."
Suddenly, sacrificing a ball game for his grandma's birthday party doesn't seem so awful to Patrick.
What I Like: As my 7 year old says, "This book is awesome!" Nearly every chapter is a cliff-hanger, the pace is quick, and the story is nothing if not adventurous. I appreciate that Beth and Patrick act like real kids who make mistakes. Both my daughter and I also enjoyed learning the interesting and important history outlined in the book; there are even several strong Christian themes woven in. Throughout, David Hohn's black and white illustrations (about a dozen of them), add interest.
What I Dislike: My only complaint is minor. At the back of the book there is a section offering facts about the real James Calvert. It ends by saying "For more info on James Calvert and Fiji, visit TheImaginationStation.com." But the website offers no such information. As I've noticed with other books in the series, the supplemental information provided on the website is inconsistent. Sometimes devotionals or other helpful material are offered and other times they are not - even if the book itself promises it.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Kristina Seleshanko, Christian Children's Book Review
January 9, 2013
Inviting for early readers
These books involve exciting historic adventures. They are full of suspense and keep the reader engaged while learning about history. The characters are believable and easy to imagine. The booksÃ¢ÂÂ easy to read format will be inviting for early readers, and the story line is captivating for older readers as well. Excellent choice for reluctant readers and those who love to read.
My fifth grade son loved them and wants to read the others in the series.
November 29, 2012
Little Sister Reviewed It!
Book Review by little sister, Sara. Edited by me.
Battle for Cannibal Island is a very exciting book. After having read the first seven books to the Imagination Station Series, book 8 was much anticipated. Though the back cover shares some of what the book was about, it was not a spoiler, leaving me with plenty of surprises.
I enjoyed the exciting story line. From battling escape convicts, terrible storms, meeting the notorious cannibal king, Toki, your in for a ride of adventure and lots of imagination. The overall message of the book was showing kindness to those who are mean to you. One of my favorite examples of this principle was when after Patrick spoke meanly towards Beth she still decided to act like Jesus and try to rescue him, showing true kindness.
This series being reccomended for ages 7 and up was just right for me. It being a chapter book, made the reading experience feel advanced, but with the occasional pictures it helped keep it kid friendly. The words are a nice big readable size for young children, but the words themselves are neither too hard, nor easy. Overall these were thrilling books and I highly recommend it, not only for young children, but to teens and parents too! I give Battle For Cannibal Island and Escape to the Hiding Place a 5 out of 5.
November 2, 2012