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From the 13th Street series, volume 1

by David Bowles ; illustrated by Shane Clester

Pub Date: July 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-06-294780-2
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Three cousins find themselves fighting a horde of bats.

Cousins Malia, Ivan, and Dante are spending the summer at Aunt Lucy’s house, located in fictional Gulf City’s Little Mexico neighborhood. The day is full of promise, as the children plan to visit the neighborhood’s water park. As they walk to the attraction, an old woman they meet on the way suggests they take a shortcut through an alley behind a bakery, but the street they emerge on—13th Street—is empty. Feeling lost, Malia uses her phone’s map app and realizes they’re no longer en route to the pool. Instead, they’ve been transported to a strange place infested by huge bats with astonishingly bad breath. The cousins must use Dante’s video game experience, Ivan’s creativity, Malia’s leadership, and the help of some fantastical characters to survive the terrifying bats and return home to Aunt Lucy’s house. Bowles gently introduces a sprinkling of Spanish vocabulary throughout this chapter book. Encouraging messages greet readers after some chapters, along with occasional progress markers. In addition, a summary of the number of chapters, pages, and words read gives readers a sense of accomplishment at the conclusion, and the three protagonists speak directly to readers, encouraging them to take up another book. Three additional activities aim to further readers’ engagement with the story and develop critical reading skills.

An exciting series opener that should whet readers’ appetites for more.

(Horror. 6-10)