The Imagination Station series are books based on the popular Adventures in Odyssey series and feature historical adventures set in one of the most exciting series venues, the Imagination Station. This review is of three books written by Marianne Herring and Nancy I. Sanders. Each one features two cousins, Beth and Patrick, who take Imagination Station adventures to America in the late 1700s, during the American Revolution.
In the Red Coats are Coming the children go in search of Paul Revere, hero of the Revolution. They meet several of our nation’s Founding Fathers and learn about espionage activity that went on during the American Revolution.
Captured on the High Seas takes the children onto an American ship battling the British in 1781. When they fall into British hands, they discover some of the struggles of average people in the American war for Independence.
Surprise at Yorktown highlights the famous battle at Yorktown and the historical figures of Generals Cornwall and Washington. The children get to help ensure victory in the battle for Independence.
I enjoyed the witty and exciting writing style. The easy-to-read language and large print would be especially appropriate for younger readers or older beginning readers who appreciate an engaging storyline based on real events. These books gave me a good understanding of how it may have felt to live during the American Revolution, which I had not studied much before now. They would make a good addition to a unit study of American history.
I was a little disappointed to find that while the two main characters interacted a lot with the imagination station characters they never really interacted with each other within the adventure. Because of this, it didn’t really feel like a story about the children. The stories read more like history books with a brief Odyssey twist at the beginning and a couple of Odyssey characters along for the ride.
Other readers might not mind this, but I find a lot of pleasure in a character-driven story with the people involved expressing emotions and feelings about what is going on around them. This draws me into the action and really makes me care about the outcomes. In my opinion, this is the difference between an informative book and a great read. Because there was so little interaction between the child characters, I felt that the interplay of two complementary story lines driving home one valuable take-away lesson–which is one of the best characteristics of Adventures in Odyssey–was missing. By the end of the books, I had learned something about events in American history, which is great, but I never really picked up that the characters learned something to carry over into their personal lives, and neither did I.
I read the books expecting Adventures in Odyssey, but I came away with some new historical insights. Although these stories don’t deliver the full Odyssey experience, I think other readers will really appreciate the books for their short, interesting insights into a very important time in our history, and their satisfying conclusions.
Josie Murdock is 10 years old and lives with her family on a research farm in South Carolina. She is homeschooled and loves reading, drawing, and foxes.
If you would like to read these books or give them to a young reader, please leave a comment. A winner’s name will be drawn on September 12.