The Forgotten Lands by Jennifer Strain; illustrated by Chiara Civati, 2018

The Forgotten Lands by Jennifer Strain tells the story of a girl named Sadie who along with her two cousins discover a magical apple in her family’s orchard. When her cousin, Finn, bites into the apple it reveals a map and compass that can transport the children to enchanted lands.

In this first installment of what is sure to be a new hit series, the children visit a world inhabited by dragons. They enter a medieval castle where they meet a king and queen who are plagued by book-eating dragons. The children work as a team to come up with a solution to ward off the dragons for good. They are victorious and return to their own world where no time has passed. They hide their mysterious map and plan to visit new lands when they are reunited in a few months.

This is one of the first chapter books I read aloud to my five-year-old son and he absolutely loved it. There is magic, adventure, a little humor, and fire-breathing dragons. What’s not to love? I noticed right away how vivid the writing is. The author does an excellent job using descriptive language to transport the reader directly into the story. My son and I had no trouble imagining the orchard where Sadie finds the apple or the incredible new world the children visit. Each time we sat down to read the book together, my son begged for just one more chapter. Luckily the chapters were short, so we could usually squeeze in one more before bedtime. The book is 75 pages intermixed with black and white illustrations and large text making it a quick read that we finished over three sittings.

This is a perfect read aloud for five to eight-year olds and also a great book for second and third graders to read on their own. There is some advanced vocabulary mixed in that may be difficult for new readers, but provided a chance for my son to learn some excellent new words. Dragons were very popular at the school I used to teach at and I am sure that many second and third graders would devour this fun new book.

Note: A copy of this book was provided to LibraryMom by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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