Monday, December 03, 2012
Book Review: Texting Through Time: John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle by Christy Monson
Christy Monson's second book in the Texting Through Time series - John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle. I didn't read the first book about Brigham Young, so this was my first introduction to the concept.
Micah and Alicia are two children who love the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On their first journey, they visited Brigham Young with the aid of their father's experimental time-travel phone, and in this book, they are eager to continue to learn more about the prophets of the Church.
While sweating in the summer heat, Micah years to go someplace cooler, and hits upon the idea of visiting John Taylor in England. Their father wants to come with them as they utilize his phone, but he is left behind as the children are sucked into the void that spits them out in England at the time of John Taylor. The children first meet him when he is a boy himself, but the phone causes them to jump forward and see John at different stages in his life and as he becomes a preacher and then the prophet.
Every so often, the phone asks them to text their journals home, and the children take a moment to summarize what's been happening.
I won't go too deeply into the plot because I want you to read the book for yourself, but here's a basic summary.
I liked this book to the Magic Treehouse series, only for a slightly older audience and with an LDS theme. In the Magic Treehouse, we have two children who are able to travel in time and learn things along the way, much like Micah and Alicia. Both sets of children become annoyed with each other from time to time, because that's what brothers and sisters do, but also as brothers and sisters do, they support each other and are there for each other when the chips are down.
I thought it was a very clever inclusion for the phone to ask them to text their journals home. This gives the character the chance to contemplate and summarize the plot and the lessons learned, and this in turn gives the reader a chance to rehearse the most salient points of the story.
I liked the way modern technology tied in to learning about history, creating a bridge between today's more tech-savvy kid and an era that otherwise might not interest them.
I also liked learning facts about John Taylor that I hadn't heard before, such as, he was a minister at the age of seventeen. That's pretty impressive.
I believe that middle-grade readers will enjoy this series for the adventurous aspects and parents will enjoy it for the gospel teachings and familiarity their children will get with the prophets. It's a good blending of the things a kid wants and the things a parent wants for their child to read.
If you have middle-grade children or grandchildren, you just might look into these books for Christmas.
You can purchase A Trek with Brigham Young here and John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle here.