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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*The Doldrums* by Nicholas Gannon - middle grades book review
The Doldrums
by Nicholas Gannon
Grades 3-7 368 pages Greenwillow September 2015 Hardcover    

Archer lives in the house with a polar bear who talks to him--not a real polar bear, but a stuffed one that stands in the hall of his home. Archerís home once belonged to his famous explorer grandparents, and it is filled with all the things that they brought home from their adventures.

Archer has never met his grandparents. They left for another adventure shortly after his birth and left their son and his wife to raise Archer in their home. Archer has always felt that he was meant to be an explorer too, but his mother strictly forbids his inquisitive nature. When Archerís grandparents disappear on an iceberg in Antarctica, Archer decides that it is his responsibility to rescue them--and his opportunity for adventure.

Archer has never had many friends. He has lived next door to Oliver Glub and his family for as long as he can remember but has never spoken to Oliver. When Archerís mother forbids him to leave the house, Archer and Oliver take to meeting on the roofs of their houses and become quick friends.

The Glub house becomes a refuge for Archer, even though Oliver is not looking for adventure, just a friend. When the boys meet Adelaide Belmont, who is not only in their class but also lives on their street, the three of them set out to find a way to get Archer out of his house so that he can rescue his grandparents. A plan is made, set in place and initiated, but not everything goes to plan.

Archer is quick-thinking and able to make adjustments to the plan. Adelaide is not afraid to take a risk, but Oliver quivers at the thought of danger and risk. Their friendship is an unusual pairing but very entertaining. Young readers will enjoy getting to know these characters.

Author Gannon has included illustrations that will open the imaginations of his reader. This initial publication will open doors to sequels much as Peggy Parish did with Amelia Bedelia. In other words, what will Archer and his friends do next? This story, written for ages 8 to 12, will make a great gift for young readers.
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