The Jaguar Stones: Middleworld (Book 1)

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10+
ISBN
1575255618
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Great Read For Advanced Middle Grade Students
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
THE JAGUAR STONES: MIDDLEWORLD is about a fourteen year old boy named Max Murphy whose parents are archeologists who are experts on the ancient Mayans. Shortly into Max's summer vacation, his parents disappear while on assignment in San Xavier, a country the authors, J & P Voelkel, based on Belize. Max flies down to San Xavier in hopes of recovering his parents. He arrives to find his uncle is involved in smuggling Mayan artifacts and may know more about Max's parents' disappearance than he is letting on.

As a teacher who teaches struggling readers in the eighth grade, I would not recommend THE JAGUAR STONES to any of my students because I think the reading level would be too difficult for them, and they may get lost with all the Mayan terminology. I would, however, highly recommend it for students who are accomplished readers and love history.

I would also not do this as a read-aloud to my class. There are a couple reasons. One big one is the fact that roosters are referred to as "cocks" way too many times in the novel. I'm afraid my students, who are not mature in the best of circumstances, would not handle that well. But also, I think some of the language that Lord 6-Rabbit and his mother, Lady Coco, use would be very confusing. They use the pronouns "thou" and "thee" almost exclusively. It would be cool if I could somehow tie THE JAGUAR STONES in with a unit on Shakespeare, but I think my students would have to overcome too many hurdles to fully understand the content.

There are some very humorous scenes in the novel. Lord 6-Rabbit and his mother are royal ancient spirits who need to use the bodies of two monkeys to reappear in the present day. The best line of the book comes from this scene. Lord 6-Rabbit tells his mother, also in her monkey body, "What a torment to have a sensitive nose when one's one body reeks like a dung heap."

There is another Mayan spirit, Ah Pukuh, who has a horrible problem with flatulence. Stuff I think young boys will really get a kick out of.

A small warning to parents of kind of young, advanced readers who might like this book. There is mention of human sacrifices, cock fighting, and cannibalism, although none actually take place.

I personally loved this book. It was a book that while I was reading it, I was pretty much addicted to. If the book wasn't in my hands, I was wondering what was happening to Max and his companion, Lola, in their quest to find the Max's parents. I'll admit that I often had to refer to the glossary in the back of the book because there were so many Mayan terms to deal with. With that said, I would read it again and can't wait for book two which comes out in December 2010.

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Lightning Thief meets the Mayan World
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Fourteen-year-old Max Murphy loves playing video games and looks forward to an Italian vacation to visit his grandmother. He's furious when he finds his trip is cancelled due to the fact his archaeologist parents leave to go on a dig in Central American. Then to makes matters worse, Max is summoned to Central America to spend time with an estranged uncle who has secrets of his own. Max demands to know what's going on and in the process stumbles on finding out his parents are missing! He decides to find them with the help of a Mayan girl named Lola. Along the way he finds out his parents were taken to the Mayan Underworld. Will he be able to save them?

This is one fast-paced tale filled with twists and turns. Sure to appeal to Rick Riordan fans this book has it all: Mayan mythology, culture, and a hero that readers will cheer for. Lola is a spirited girl who helps Max along the way. I love books that show different cultures and the authors do a great job weaving this into the story. I could tell the Voelkel's did their research!

The illustrations add to the flavor of this story. And the added humor of the howler monkeys is a plus.

Another must-read Egmont book! I can't wait for the second book in the series which will be out later this year.

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Uncover the Secrets of the Ancient Maya
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Max Murphy has the worst parents on the planet. Both of his parents are Maya archaeologists and their idea of a fun summer trip is going off on a dig in San Xavier, leaving Max behind in Boston. Max is furious that his parents have abandoned their original summer plans for Italy, and are instead sending him to brat camp! Sometimes Max thinks his parents care more about the Maya than they do about him.

Only a few days after his parents, Max discovers a plane ticket waiting for him on the table. Zia, their housekeeper tells him that his parents have sent for him. Max is jubilated - maybe his parents do love him after all! But all his excitement quickly seeps away when he sees what awaits him in San Xavier. It turns out that his parents have disappeared and they need Maxs help to save him! Max is sent to stay with his uncle and he desperately needs to figure out how to find his parents. All clues point to ancient Maya mythology, but none of that is true&right?

When Max meets Lola, he begins to learn all of the truth behind the Maya myths. It will be hard, but if Max wants to save his parents, he needs to keep an open-mind and learn all he can about the Ancient Maya. According to the Maya calendar, the God of Death will begin his reign in a few days. And unless he can save his parents before then, they might be lost forever! As Max learns to live in the rainforest and depend on himself for survival, he is far from the stuck-up city kid he was when he arrived.

Before he realizes it, Max is so caught up in this Maya adventure that theres no turning back. Theres more than his parents lives at stake now, the whole world is depending on him to stop the Tzelek and the Maya Lords of Death from controlling all of Middleworld.

Jon and Pamela Voelkel do an amazing job of weaving the stories of the Maya into a modern day thriller. I learned so much about the Maya without even realizing it! It is clear that they are experts on the Maya. The Voelkels are great about explaining all of the gods and Maya beliefs so all of the new information is not overwhelming at all. This book is the perfect bait to get a videogamer to turn off the tv and read! This book has much more action than any movie or videogame could ever offer. And if you love Jaguar Stones: Book One Middleworld, youll be glad to know that the Voelkels have two more installments in the works!
A2
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