Review sponsored* by Amberjack Publishing
The Children’s Book Review | May 1, 2017
Written by Eric Bower
Age Range: 9-12
Hardcover: 250 pages
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing (2017)
What to expect: Western, Action, Adventure, Kidnapping, STEM, Steampunk, Family
Beginning with the table of contents that hosts the creatively named chapters—such as “I Felt Like a Marshmallow Wrapped in a Doily”—The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate is an entertaining middle grade novel set in 1891 in the wild west.
Waldo Baron, or W.B. as his parents call him, hates his name more than eating pickled pigs feet for supper. He is heavyset and doesn’t do well in the heat. And to top it all off, his science-minded Pa and mathematical-minded Ma have very anachronistic ideas that pose quite the challenge for Waldo. He doesn’t take science particularly seriously, but his parents are inventors. Together they all live in the Baron Estate in Pitchfork, Arizona Territory. Pitchfork is the hot and dry home of the legendary Sheriff Graham, who is best known for capturing the most wanted criminal in America, Benedict Blackwood. One morning, Waldo awakens to see only blue from his bedroom window. He discovers that his parents have worked out how to make the Baron Estate float—no, fly! His parents enter a flying contest and action-packed havoc ensues when they end up being kidnapped by Benedict Blackwood’s sister!
Author Eric Bower sure knows how to spin a yarn. Every part of the story has purpose and the story builds upon each chapter. There are unexpected plot-twist surprises that elicit laughter. His characters are vibrant and they bring color to the story with their varying quirky traits: Aunt Dorca is annoying and always singing; Iris (also known as Shorty) is a name-caller but also well-meaning; Benedict Blackwood is, of course, dastardly; Waldo is self-deprecating and kind; and Pa is as smart as a tack and as forgetful as a goldfish. Other characters bring color and thoughtfulness to the story because they are not what they seem at all—in fact, they remind readers not to judge people by what others tell us about them.
The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate is an enjoyable old-school Western with a contemporary feel, thanks to the steampunk addition of Ma and Pa’s inventions. Including a scene with flying horse poop, kids ages 9-12 are bound to enjoy this topsy-turvy tale with its funny moments of slapstick comedy.
About Eric Bower
Eric Bower and his lovely wife, Laura, live in utter terror of their cat, who rules their small cottage in Pasadena, California with an iron paw. Eric can’t quite recall when the cat took over the house, or what life was like before he became a slave to the “Furry Empress,” but he imagines he used to spend some time working as a playwright. His plays have been produced in Southern California and New York City, and have been described as “quirky and fun,” and “containing a disappointingly small number of strong feline characters.” His hobbies include reading, cleaning kitty litter from the soles of his shoes, painting, brushing cat hair from his sweaters, playing guitar, and desperately trying to escape. If you see him, please say hello, and please send help. All hail the Furry Empress.
Read our exclusive interview » Eric Bower Discusses ‘The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate’
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. The publisher of ‘The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate,’ by Eric Bower, sponsored* this non-biased review. Learn more about getting a book review …