"Attack at the Arena" is the second book in "The Imagination Station" series. We continue the story by following cousins Beth and Patrick to ancient Rome to find a monk's chalice. This is an entertaining installment to this series. My 4.5 year old has been enjoying the books and we are looking forward to more stories from this series!
The second book in this series picks up immediately where the last one left off. Beth and Patrick go on another adventure, this time to Rome where they meet Telemachus, encounter games at the colosseum, and help share the message of Christ.
This read was more engaging than the first book, mostly because the plot was better developed. I'd recommend it for struggling to average readers, probably under the age of 10 or so.
We are big fans of Adventures in Odyssey audio dramas, so I was excited to get this book for the kiddos. We all loved it. It has all the drama and intrigue we love in Adventures in Odyssey and the Christian integrity we trust. Attack at the Arena is the second book in the Imagination Station series, this historical ficton takes place in Rome. This is an a chapter book for 2nd-4th graders, but would also make fun family read-aloud.
My boys need to read 20 mins. a day as homework what better books to read than these? they're 12 and 9 years old and they both loved them, as a matter of fact my 9 y.o. is doing a book report on every book he reads and this has been a way to share Jesus with his classmates and friends. Thanks so very much I didn't even know you wrote books, we knew and have the cds but didn't know about these wonderful books, this is wonderful and such a blessing, keep up the wonderful job! God bless you richly!
The second in the new Imagination Station series, Attack at the Arena, does a better job of living up to the Magic Tree House books it so closely emulates. In this volume, young Patrick and Beth travel back in time to ancient Rome, searching for a monk's silver cup to help the mysterious Albert, known only through letters that appear suddenly in the Imagination Station.
The kids quickly part ways when a Roman solider carries Beth away, saying she's dressed as a slave of the emperor. Patrick ends up with a kindly monk who tries to help save a "barbarian" war captive fleeing Roman soldiers. Unfortunately, it isn't until the barbarian takes the monk's hidden silver cup that Patrick realizes this is the exact object he must obtain before heading home.
In the meantime, Beth finds herself tending the young, haughty emperor's bird menagerie. And when it's time to see war prisoners die in the arena, the emperor takes his birds along - and Beth, to tend to them. Through an unfortunate turn of events, Patrick ends up in the arena with the war captives. But the monk Patrick befriended not only wants to help Patrick and Beth, he says God spoke to him in a dream and told him to go to the arena that day. He even gets Beth to deliver a message to the emperor: "Are you a Christian?"
The emperor is angry about this question; of course he's a Christian! By law, the emperor must be Christian. The monk points to the silver chalice the emperor is drinking from - and stole from the barbarian. "Your Highness is drinking from a holy chalice," the monk says. "You now use it to salute death." When the emperor asks why he should stop the games his people demand, the monk replies: "Because you say you follow Christ, the bread of life."
The emperor sees the error of his ways, but the games aren't easily stopped. In the end, it's Beth and the birds she cares for that save the lives of the war captives - and Patrick.
Silver cup in hand, Patrick and Beth head home. Mr. Whittaker, the owner of the Imagination Station, tells the kids no one is sure what became of the monk, but that history shows there were no more bloody arena games after he confronted the emperor. And their next trip? Mr. Whittaker has answers about that, too. They will soon be off to China, to seek a golden tablet.
What I Like: Marianne Hering and Paul McCusker's Attack at the Arena is considerably more action packed than the first book in the Imagination Station series (Voyage with the Vikings). The story also seems more fleshed out and does a better job of revealing Christian history. Both my 5 year old and I agree this book is the best in the series so far.
What I Dislike: My only real complaint is that David Hohn's drawings of the children - and especially of Beth - are weirdly thin. The last thing I want is to expose my daughter to are more images of too-thin females. Those who love the Magic Tree House books should also realize Attack at the Arena is longer than the original MTH books, has fewer illustrations, and has no facts listed at the end of the book.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Kristina Seleshanko, Christian Children's Book Review