Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid (Review +Excerpt)

Review

3 Stars

(About the Book)

I received an e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

I think I would rate it three stars for my enjoyment of it (because it definitely was a young level children’s chapter book), and 4 stars for the target age group’s theoretical enjoyment.

I didn’t get that this was a children’s chapter book when I signed up for a spot on the blog-tour. And honestly, maybe I should have. I expected it to be a younger middle grade sort of book.

That’s all right, though, because it’s short length allowed me to read it quickly, which was good because I had to have it done by this Saturday.

The book was written in present tense, which was a bit unusual. A lot of writing guides say that it is better to write in present tense, but nobody ever really does it. The present tense makes a story read more like someone is verbally spinning a tale as opposed to reading a book.

It didn’t really bother me, but it struck me as strange in some places, though I believe that this was just because I wasn’t used to the style.

If one was reading it aloud to a child, it may come across better than past tensed.

I thought that the characters were likable and believable. The plot would be exciting and magical to the designated age group, and there was plenty of learning to be had.

This is a book that celebrates cultural differences, both in the way that people look and the way that the live their day to day lives and celebrate holidays.

At times it could come across as a bit, not preachy, but I can’t think of a different word. Facts were just sort of written down, as opposed to sneakily woven into the story.

Personally, I found the facts interesting, but this is something that I noticed. Lucia, a Spanish girl that the two main characters meet later on, serves at points as a tour guide in Madrid. She explained facts about Madrid in a way that didn’t quite seem natural for a child.

But if one is to learn facts from this book, it’ll have to happen somehow! And I think that this wouldn’t really be noticed by a child. I think that the means of telling facts in this book would be good for the designated age group because they are made easy to understand, and it wouldn’t stand out as unusual in the plot.

So, I would recommend this for the designated age group, but not for the middle grade – adult age groups.

Excerpt

McKenzie and Lizzie land safely in a field, surrounded by roses of all lovely colors. These are not just regular red roses but also white roses with pinkish lining, orange ones, and purple roses!
      “I wonder where we are,” Lizzie says, looking around.
McKenzie leans over to smell and exhales slowly. “I wish I could bring these back to my mom.” 
Lizzie gently pulls McKenzie’s hand away. “Be careful. You know what happens when you touch things you aren’t supposed to.”
McKenzie can avoid getting tagged at lightning speed and climbs a fence with the grace of a ballerina, but there are times when objects surrender to her touch.
As McKenzie continues to sniff and touch the rose petals, a few fall to the ground. McKenzie pulls her hand away and motions sideways toward Lizzie, who is giving her the “you did it again” look.
Out of the brightly colored roses a little girl appears.
      “Don’t be afraid. Princess Lovina sent me. I’m Lucia!” the girl greets them happily. “Hola! That means hello in Spanish.” Lucia has long, straight hair that she wears in a ponytail. She is carrying a bright pink backpack and wearing a locket that looks just like Lizzie’s and McKenzie’s.
      “Where are we?” McKenzie asks.
      “You are at the Rose Garden Parque del Oeste. This garden has over six hundred types of roses from all over the world. You came at the most perfect time, because it’s May and the International Competition for New Roses is going on. The winning rose gets to remain in the garden permanently.”
      “But where are we?” Lizzie impatiently wonders.
      “You’re in the city of Madrid, which is the capital of the country of Spain,” Lucia explains.
      “Madrid?” McKenzie says, unable to contain her excitement.
       “Spain?” Lizzie’s mouth hangs open as she’s captured speechless.
      “¿Cómo se llaman ustedes?” Lucia asks. “That means what are your names? Spanish is our official language, but we also speak English.”

About the Author

Dina Tate is the President and Founder of GlobalGirlsSquad LLC a publishing and technology company.  Her first book which combines her love of travel and japanese animation is titled “Lizzie and McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures”.

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