Lethcoe plunges readers right into an energetic quest story about a young boy following in his explorer grandfather’s footsteps—and saving the world, of course.
Twelve-year-old, white Andy Stanley shares more with the grandfather he’s never met than their “pale complexion and straw-like sandy hair”—he shares his adventurer’s spirit, too. He begins to realize this at his grandfather’s funeral, where he is introduced to an unusual and unexpectedly dangerous cast of associates and adversaries who seem to know all about Andy. After an ensuing code-breaking trial and a conversation with his possibly not-so-dead grandfather, clumsy bookworm Andy finds himself on a mission for the Jungle Explorers Society. Readers unfazed by the too-convenient plot and jarring pace and the fact that every other action seems to occur “suddenly” or “in a flash” will be entertained by the continuous action and the high cool-things-per-page quotient (complete with an airship, an exploding pen, a mechanical servant, a shrunken head, a magical artifact, a talking bird, a man-eating god, and a mime).
The book is precisely what it bills itself as, wish-fulfillment fun to spark a young reader’s curiosity—every passage is an invitation to go on a quest, to explore, to be brave, to learn something new. (Adventure/fantasy. 9-12)