Thursday, August 8, 2019

Ranger in Time: Journey through Ash and Smoke, written my Kate Messner, reviewed by Amanda Davies

Summary​:  As part of Messner's 11-book Ranger in Time series, Journey through Ash and Smoke follows the time-traveling golden retriever Ranger to Iceland during the time of the Vikings.  When the first aid kit that Ranger dug up from the garden starts humming, he knows that he's about to experience an adventure and hopefully save someone who needs help.  After looping the strap of the first aid kit over his head, Ranger found himself transported to a small, dark home where a woman was calling for someone named Helga.  Ranger quickly realizes that Helga shouldn't be out in the storm raging outside, so he sets off to rescue her.  In addition to the battling the storm, Ranger also discovers that the increasingly shaky ground indicates a volcano is about to erupt and that he needs to help Helga find her father before her new sibling is born.  Ranger and Helga work together while facing incredible odds.

Straight Talk for Librarians​:  Messner has a knack for writing historically accurate tales that seamlessly incorporate her extensive research while maintaining a fast and engaging pace. Journey through Ash and Smoke is no different.  At the end of the book, Messner includes a thorough Author's Note that includes a description the process of her research, photos of her trip to Iceland, and explanations for the inspiration for parts of the story.  While the time-travel elements mean that the book is a work of historical fiction, she also provides suggestions for further reading and a source list of her research.  This would be a great book for young people who love non-fiction but who are looking to branch out and explore other genres, who love history and learning about other cultures, or who just love a good adventure. 

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