Thursday, November 14, 2019

Middle Grade Pick: Britfield & the Lost Crown

Britfield & the Lost Crown
by C.R. Stewart
Devonfield Publishing
2019
386 pages
ISBN: 9781732961210

First in a planned seven book series, Britfield & the Lost Crown reads likes a fairy tale. Tom, an orphan, enlists the help of fellow orphans to escape the evil orphanage with his best friend Sarah. Before he leaves, his good friend Patrick  steals a folder from the office and Tom learns a secret about his past and parentage. His parents are alive! Now he has even more questions and no answers.

The pair escape a determined and dogged detective who makes it his business to catch runaway orphans and elude police capture as the navigate by a hot air balloon which just happened to be sitting unattended in a field along their way. Somehow, two kids with no knowledge of ballooning learn to fly the balloon all over England. The story rollicks along London and many famous landmarks.

The kids meet several people who help them unlock Tom's secret and set up the next book in the series. Tame enough for younger middle grade and easy to read, Britfield's page count may terrorize reluctant readers. In that case, perhaps an audiobook or full class read would work better.

This books seems set in the past and pre-Internet, pre-cells phone bygone eras, yet some dialog between the characters is slang of today. One in particular: a character asks, "Too much information?" which if TMI in text and recent (last decade). Dialog in particular is this book's weakness. As a career middle grade (middle school) librarian, the dialog is all wrong.

Recommended younger middle grade. Middle school readers may find the story too predicable.

Grade 5- 6. Grade 7 and up may want a more YA experience.

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