adventure, boys, children

Two Little Savages: The Adventures of Two Boys Who Lived as American Indians

Author & Illustrator: Ernest Thompson Seton
Publisher: Axios Press
Genre: Children / Adventure
ISBN: 978-1-60419-033-5
Pages: 313
Price: $18.00

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Most boys have dreamed about spending a week or two camping out, surviving on what they can forage. If they’re fortunate enough to live near the woods, and they have indulgent parents, they may be able to live out their fantasy. But if they’re city dwellers, they may have to read about it instead.

Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946), who founded the Boy Scouts of America, penned this work sharing the adventures of two boys who experienced their dream of living as Native Americans for three weeks. In it, they build a teepee shelter, hunt, learn about the animals around them, and solidify their friendship.

Yan and Sam try to do everything the way the Native Americans would do it. Teepee construction, making their own arrows, and crafting a drum are all done as authentically as possible. With no Native people around to help, they rely on Caleb, a man who seems to know quite a bit about their methods.

Boys probably would not be too upset by animals being killed in this story, but the more sensitive might be turned off. Some of the animal antics don’t ring quite true, and it seems as if the author used some exaggeration to create more drama. But overall, this is a great read for all boys who crave outdoor adventures.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

adventure, tween

The Silent Sphinx

Author: Michael Khort
Publisher: Excursion Press
Genre: Adventure
ISBN: 978-0982632505
Pages: 244
Price: $9.49

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Robby is on a field trip with his fifth-grade class when he sees the black sphinx for the first time. Along with his teacher, Mr. Reynolds, they talk to a mysterious stranger, who has sinister plans for them. They soon find themselves on a journey to Egypt, in search of the lost tomb of the pharaoh Setmesses.

Mr. Reynolds holds an important clue the Greek smuggler, Straticus, has been looking for all his life. Now the teacher and student are key players in this dangerous quest. Can they find the missing tomb before Straticus determines they’re irrelevant and decides to eliminate them?

As an avid student of ancient Egypt, I was fascinated by the turn of events in this story, leading to this unknown tomb. It’s always fun to imagine how it would feel to make such a discovery, and this aspect of the story didn’t disappoint. But I did have questions about why Straticus would decide to take these two people with him. It seems it would have been simpler to just steal the necessary fragment from Mr. Reynolds and go without them.

While the fast-paced adventure and fascinating discovery in The Silent Sphinx would appeal to a reader of Robby’s age, Robby himself was not a very admirable character. He played such a small part in the story, being more of a spectator than a participant, and he showed very little courage. Kids prefer to read about strong main characters who become major players in adventure, not just sitting on the sidelines watching the adults handle things for them.

Reviewer: Alice Berger