Review sponsored* by Suzanne Roche
The Children’s Book Review | June 30, 2016
Stumbling On A Tale
Written by Suzanne Roche
Age Range: 9-13
Hardback Book: 221 pages
Publisher: Oak Lei Press
What to expect: Adventure, Medieval History, Friendship, Family
Peri, Henry and Max have an exciting secret – they’ve traveled back in time. Their previous adventure ended well, but Henry would really prefer to never fall back in time again. He’s perfectly happy playing chess in the back of his parent’s antique shop. Ever since his mom up and married Peri’s dad, things have been just too different, and he could use some normalcy.
Unfortunately, his little brother Max accidentally finds a mysterious object and brings it too close to the magic journal Peri is reading, and all three children find themselves falling back through time. Peri, a clever girl full of fun (and not so fun) historical facts, is the first to realize they’ve gone and landed themselves in a forest in the Middle Ages. Little Max has lost his mysterious object, and until they find it, they have no hope of magically transporting themselves back to their home and correct century. Henry, Peri and Max happen upon a peasant with a prize-winning hog, a maiden, a young squire and a semi-famous magician in the medieval forest. Will they keep safe and find that magical object to get home? Will they avoid the bubonic plague? The children had better keep a lookout, or they could come face to face with a real-life dragon!
This is a cute book perfect for older elementary school children. It weaves historical facts with a charming story about three young siblings. Fearless Peri is great at explaining things to her rather silly stepbrothers. The story has a great mix of tension and adventure without being too scary for younger readers. The reading level is appropriate for elementary school.
The book also features facts and pictures sprinkled throughout, to better explain certain historical concepts. The end of the book has several activities, recipes and games that go with the medieval theme.
In addition to the more obvious medieval theme, Peri, Henry and Max must also learn how to create a new family as stepsiblings. A parent’s remarriage and new siblings can be hard for any child. Peri and Henry both spend time thinking about their new lives, and children from blended families might find themselves having similar feelings. Seeing Peri and Henry work out their issues together is sweet and heartening.
Stumbling on a Tale would be an excellent book for children learning about the medieval time period. What a fun way to introduce historical facts in this exciting adventure!
Add this book to your collection: Stumbling On A Tale
About Suzanne Roche
Suzanne’s initial lifetime plan was to marry Tarzan, but moved on to consider becoming an actress, a baseball player, and a Soviet spy. These aspirations came entirely from reading and writing about them rather than from any meaningful training or talent.
In fact, Suzanne was terribly shy as a child and scared to be on stage. When she played baseball, she practiced her ballet positions in the outfield. The whole Soviet spy idea fizzled because, while on the way to job interview with the CIA, she took a detour to browse in a bookstore and completely forgot about the interview. As each of these career plans fell through, it was the love of history, reading, and writing that grew.
Growing up, she wrote letters to Laura Ingalls Wilder, pretending to be her pen pal. She parked herself in front of the television on Saturday mornings to watch “Big Blue Marble.” After reading “Dr. Zhivago,” she decided to major in Russian History in college. Now she writes historical fiction because it lets her pretend to live in different times and meet everyone she’s always wanted to meet. No book about Tarzan has been planned yet though.
For more information, visit: www.timetotimekids.com
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. The author of “Stumbling on a Tale,” Suzanne Roche, sponsored* this non-biased review. Learn more about getting a book review …
I read “Stumbling on a Tale” too and really enjoyed it (despite being well outside the target age range!). I think you made an excellent point about Peri explaining things to her step-brothers – I don’t know how she’s able to have so much patience with them.
I liked it that she was the main character in Suzanne’s first book in the series (“Making it Home”) and was slightly miffed that in “Stumbling on a Tale” it’s now Henry who has more of a lead role – but who pretty much whinges all the way through.
The writing style throughout is brilliant though!