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Also by Amanda Lumry & Laura Hurwitz:

Adventures of Riley: Dolphins in Danger

Also illustrated by Sarah McIntyre:

Oliver and the Seawigs (Not-So-Impossible Tales)


Adventures of Riley: Mission to Madagascar
by Amanda Lumry & Laura Hurwitz, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre
ages 4-8 36 pages Eaglemont Press May 2005 Hardcover    

When Riley is invited to go on a trip to Africa by his Uncle Max, he is ready but unsure what the journey will entail. Uncle Max explains the purpose of the excursion: to locate and film the aye-aye, a rare lemur that only appears at night. The group will include Uncle Max, Aunt Martha, Cousin Alice and a film crew.

Riley has never been to such an exotic location and can't imagine what adventures await. The first leg of the journey takes the group to London, then on to the capitol of Madagascar. Once on safari, they run across a variety of unusual species and Riley learns that finding the aye-aye may bring bad luck, or so the legend says. The inquisitive Riley certainly tests this theory before the trip is over.

While Riley puts on a brave face, Cousin Alice prances around in her feather boa, posing for the camera crew, who has more complicated things to attend to. Riley is the perfect hero for this lively adventure, a little boy filled with curiosity, bravado and the courage to ask grownups for help when necessary. As the adventure continues, he learns an important lesson: it's all right to be scared. As it turns out, the boy is invaluable in discovering the reluctant aye-aye and capturing the animal on film.

This wonderfully designed, well-rendered adventure story reaches into the world of nature and draws young readers into a landscape to engage their curiosity, challenge their imaginations and build vocabulary.

The vocabulary is appropriately challenging for young readers and the illustrations carry the plotline forward, the layout optimizing visual effects. Besides the vivid images and lively characters, selected pages feature details of particular interest in this story, facts about animals and insects they see along the way, even photographs of some that blend perfectly into the jungle scenes, where a myriad of creatures lurk.

The end of the book features a glossary of terms and an illustrated map of the area, a hidden puzzle and, best of all, a "Passport to Riley's World" that can be detached and filled with stickers from each Riley's adventure book (the Madagascar sticker is included in this volume). Also included is a mail-away application form for a membership kit with a copy of the latest Riley newsletter. Lots of extras in this purchase!

More than a story, this book is a beginning adventure in science and nature, exploring places all over the globe and saving stickers from these travels in a "Riley" passport. Well-designed with young readers in mind, this book will delight and fascinate any child who is interested in nature and the magnificent world around us.

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  Luan Gaines/2005 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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