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“If I had to get stuck in time with anyone, I’m glad it was you,” Chase. –Stealing the Sword
Stealing the Sword
Time Jumpers #1
by Wendy Mass
Chase and Ava buy an old suitcase at a flea market. Even though the lady who sold it to them said that it was broken and would not open, Chase and Ava want it. Soon, they discover that they can open the suitcase and it is filled with strange objects. One of the objects looks like a dragon-headed doorknob. When the object jumps out of the suitcase, Chase grabs it. Suddenly Chase and Ava jump back in time and end up in King Arthur’s castle.
Chase and Ava overhear two knights plotting King Arthur’s death. They have to find a way to help King Arthur. As they sneak around the castle, they meet the king’s wizard Merlin. Merlin tells them the dragon-headed object is really a piece of Excalibur. Chase and Ava have to figure out how to fix the king’s sword and get it back to him. But a man with two different colored eyes wants the dragon-head object for himself. How can they help King Arthur? Will they ever make it back home?
Siblings Chase and Ava not only enjoy spending time together, but they also work together to help King Arthur. Although the two easily find the clues they need to solve the mystery, younger readers will appreciate the non-scary suspense and the glimpse of King Arthur’s time period. Even though Chase and Ava go back in time, the story focuses on the two sibling’s dilemma and has very little historical facts. Even though the story contains few historical facts, Stealing the Sword combines non-stop action, mystery, and a little bit of history to create a story that independent readers will enjoy.
Stealing the Sword is part of the Scholastic’s Branches early chapter books, which have easy-to-read text and illustrations on every page. The story uses short descriptions and dialogue to keep the story moving at a fast pace. The black and white illustrations appear on every page and help break up the text into manageable sections. The villain Randall, who has two colored eyes, pops in and out of the story which keeps the suspense high. Stealing the Sword introduces several characters that reappear in later books, which requires the Time Jumpers series to be read in order. Stealing the Sword focuses on a positive sibling relationship and will entertain readers who are ready for chapter books.
- Someone plots King Arthur’s death and hires Big Bob to kill him during a tournament. King Arthur and Big Bob fight, and when Big Bob swings his sword, “Arthur raises his shield to protect himself.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- When Chase opens a suitcase and touches one of the objects, “the ground begins to rumble and shake. . . Ava clings to her brother as they begin to spin. . . Faster and faster they spin! Images blur in front of their eyes—mountains, oceans, cities, faces!” When they stop spinning, the discover they went back in time. When they return home, they discover that “even though they were at the castle all day, it’s still late afternoon here.”
- Because the suitcase will only open for Chase and Ava, Chase compares to it King Author’s sword. Chase “loves the story of how King Arthur got his sword. Excalibur’s blade was stuck in a rock and no one could pull it out until King Arthur came.”
- A man chases Chase and Ava, trying to steal an object. Merlin throws his hands into the sky, “a loud thunderclap fills the air, followed by a plume of smoke.” When the crowd begins to run, Chase and Ava are able to escape.
- Merlin tries to fix Excalibur, but cannot. When Chase and Ava work together, they are able to fix the sword. “Chase brings the end of the blade down onto the hilt. . . They hold their breath as the hilt and the blade knit together, strands of steel twisting and bending into one. For an instant the whole sword glows red, then hardens. Excalibur is whole again.”