Wednesday, May 06, 2020

(3) Buddy's Big Surprise - A FREE Short Story for Kids Who Are Stuck at Home

Buddy's Big Surprise

In the early spring, while the evenings were still cool, a young squirrel stuck his head out of the nest, high up in a mighty oak. His name was Buddy. Up until today, Buddy had stayed nestled inside where it was warm and dark. Rain couldn’t touch him in there, and he was safe from the wind. Still Buddy knew it would soon be time to leave the nest.
“But I don’t wanna leave the nest,” he told his mother early one morning. “Why do I have to go?” 
“Because,” she answered him in her soft voice. “It’s the way of a squirrel to go into the world and find something to eat.”
“Won’t you bring me food?” he asked.
His mother only shook her head. “One day you’ll want your own nest. And you have a great purpose in the forest. You’ll see.”
Buddy didn’t like the sound of that. He didn’t like the sound at all. It wasn’t long before he climbed to the bottom of his tree, along with his mother, brother, and sister. Their mother showed them how to find food down on the ground. 
“This is very important,” she began. “You’ll be looking for nuts, acorns, fruit, and seeds.”
Buddy made a face. “Seeds? Yuck!”
“They aren’t bad, you’ll see. Now follow me.” She took them into a nearby farmer’s field where the young squirrels found more corn on the ground than they could possibly eat. Their mother showed them how to gather kernels of corn, acorns, and nuts, and bury them in the ground for later. Buddy learned how food could be waiting for him just under the next leaf.
Mother squirrel sat with her children near several tall ferns. “This is the most important lesson of all,” she began. “If you’re ever in danger, a squirrel simply turns, runs to the nearest tree, and climbs as fast as he can. You’ll be safe up there.”
Buddy shook his head. “Not me he said,” as his little chest puffed out. He clenched his two front paws and punched into the wind. “I can take care of myself.”
With a stern look, his mother said, “You must do as I say.”
The young squirrels went back to searching for food until, late in the afternoon, Buddy looked around. “Hey,” he said to the others, “Where’s Mom?” They only shook their heads. He looked up where an Eagle soared in the sky. Wish I could fly like that, he’d thought. Hope he didn’t catch my mom. Right then Buddy decided to try flying. He grabbed two dead leaves off the ground and climbed up the nearest tree. About four branches up, he stopped climbing and scurried out onto the limb.
“I’m gonna fly,” Buddy called out to the other squirrels. They looked up and laughed. 
“Squirrels can’t fly,” one of them said.
Buddy winked. “What about flying squirrels?”
“You’re not a flying squirrel,” another answered with a giggle.
“Oh yeah? Watch me.” With that, Buddy began flapping the leaf in each paw. When he’d gotten them going as fast as he could, he stepped off the branch. But no matter how hard he tried, there was no way Buddy was going to fly. He fell to the ground like a ripe walnut.
“Look!” a squirrel on the ground said with a laugh. “Another nut falls from a tree.”
Buddy got up off the ground, brushed his fur, and grumbled, “Those dumb leaves probably weren’t big enough.” Then he walked away while the other squirrels kept laughing.
When he reached the stream, Buddy looked down just as two big fish swam by. 
Wish I could swim under water, he thought. He moved right up to the edge of the bank so he could get a closer look. That’s when something terrible happened. The dirt under his feet broke away, dumping Buddy into the cold water. His head went under and he found out very quickly that squirrels weren’t meant to breathe under water. He came up coughing, sputtering, and gasping for breath. In the distance he saw a beaver making repairs to the beaver dam. “Not even gonna try that,” he said with a sigh.
After he’d sat in the sun to dry, Buddy watched as a bunny hoped past him. I could do that, he thought. Soon he stood up on his two hind feet and jumped as hard as he could, but he didn’t go as far, and he didn’t go as fast. 
Still, it didn’t stop Buddy. Like the bunny, he began to hop, hop, hop along the trail. That’s when another rabbit stopped and asked him, “What are you doing?”
“I’m hopping, just like a rabbit.” 
At first the bunny didn’t do anything. Then he began laughing. He laughed and he laughed so hard, it made him fall on the ground where he held his stomach and rolled around in the grass. When he finally caught his bunny breath, the rabbit said, “But you’re a squirrel...not a rabbit.”
Buddy spent the rest of the afternoon, and most of the next day, watching other animals in the forest. Each time he saw a new one, he did his best to do what it did. No matter how hard he tried, nothing seemed to work. Finally he slumped down under a bush and stared at the ground.
“What’s the matter, Buddy?” a familiar voice asked.
Without even looking up Buddy said, “Grandpa?”
“Sure is. I think you’re just about the saddest squirrel I’ve ever seen.”
Buddy slowly looked up. A small tear ran down his face. “I’ve tried to be like everybody else I’ve seen in the forest, but it’s no use. I’m only a useless squirrel” He looked down again, let out a deep breath, and sniffed.
“Useless squirrel?” his grandfather demanded in a loud voice. “Are you kidding?”
“Yeah, I can’t do anything special.”
His grandfather moved closer. “You see, we all have a place in this world. The beaver is best at building things. Birds can fly in the sky. And fish can breathe under water. But were made for a special purpose.”
Buddy looked up again as he remembered his mother telling him that he had a purpose. “What’s mine?” he asked.
“Why, you were made for planting.”
Buddy swelled up with pride. “I was?”
“Each of us has a job to do that only we are the best at doing.” Grandfather squirrel looked around the forest. He waved his paw from one side, clear across to the other.  “You see all of those mighty oak and nut trees?”
Buddy looked and nodded.
“How do you s’pose they got there?”
Buddy shook his head.
With a twinkle and a smile, his grandfather thumped his puffed out his chest and said, “I planted them.”
Buddy’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. “You did? But how?”
“They each start from a single, little nut or acorn. And you know how much we love to eat those.”
Buddy’s face brightened and a sparkle came into his eyes. He jumped up, grabbed an acorn between his teeth, and turned toward the forest.
“Where are you going?” his grandfather asked.
With the acorn in his mouth, and in a muffled voice he called back to his grandfather, “Can’t talk now, Grandpa. I got trees to plant.”

The End

More information about my middle grade adventures and mysteries. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

(2) Grandpa’s Old Oak Tree - A FREE Short Story for Kids Who Are Stuck at Home

A death in the family can be particularly difficult for young minds to understand. This story might help to explain what has happened.

Grandpa’s Old Oak Tree

The Brightman family decided to make a special trip to visit the grandparents on their farm. Jimmy knew something was different when most of the way there, no one said very much. After they arrived, the children were able to spend time with their grandfather. But even they noticed how he tired easily, needed lots of naps, and wasn’t as much fun as he used to be.
Then one day, their grandfather took them out to sit under his favorite oak tree. To the children, it looked like his tree might reach all the way to the sky. It hurt the back of Jimmy’s neck, just looking up at it. Even if he and Sarah held hands and tried to reach around the massive trunk, their arms still wouldn’t be long enough.
Grandpa showed them where their own parents had carved their initials up in the tree. Above those were the grandparents’ initials. Then even higher up, Jimmy saw something. “Hey, who carved that heart?”
His grandpa chuckled. “Those were your great grandparents. The ones before your grandmother and me.”
Sarah kept looking up for a moment. “Wow, they sure must have been good climbers.”
Her grandfather laughed. “No, sweetie, when they carved their initials in that big heart, they were standing on the ground.”
 She wrinkled up her nose. “How tall were they?”
 “The tree grew up since then,” her brother answered.
 “That’s right,” their grandfather said. Life goes on and this old tree kept growing right along with it.” They sat quietly for the next few minutes. Then he continued. “We’ve had some wonderful picnics under this old tree. I used to climb its mighty branches when I was only a boy. Sometimes the family sat out here and sang until way past dark. Why, I think about all the creatures it’s taken care of.”
“Like what?” Jimmy asked.
“Squirrels built their nests high up in her branches, they gathered acorns for the winter when they fell in the fall, and all kinds of birds have raised their young in this tree. Your own father climbed it when he was about your age, Jimmy. And it’s given us a nice place in the shade so we could get out of the sun on many a hot day.”
Everyone sat quietly again for a few minutes. Then Sarah asked, “Have you always been a farmer?”
He nodded. “I have, but did you know I was also a builder?”
Jimmy and his sister shook their heads together.
“It’s true.” He turned and pointed. “I designed and built our house over there.”
“You did?” Jimmy exclaimed.
“Sure did.” He turned back to the children. “And one thing a builder knows about is wood. Now, you take this tree here. It’s getting pretty old. Soon it’ll need to be cut down, if the wind or lightning don’t do the job first.” He pointed to a place where two parts of the tree had been split. “Like up there where lightning hit it.” He took a deep breath and then looked at his grandchildren again. “When an oak tree doesn’t produce acorns anymore, or the branches aren’t strong, it could be dangerous if I left it for your grandmother to take care of after I’m...”
Jimmy was beginning to understand, and it gave him a big lump right in the middle of his throat. His sister had gone off to pick flowers nearby. He moved closer to his grandfather. “How come things have to..?”
Jimmy nodded.
“Well, it’s just the way life is. Sometimes we build things to remind us of people who aren’t with us anymore. It’s a way to help remember them. When one thing dies, something else takes its place.”
“But how?”
Grandfather pointed out toward his fields. “In the spring, my soy beans grow green and strong. Before they can be harvested, and used for food, they have to die first and dry up. But a farmer can take some of those same dry beans, plant them in the ground, and a new crop will grow up to take their place. Or when a car gets old and rusted, it’s taken to the junk yard, shredded, and a new car can be built from what’s left.”
Jimmy thought for a moment. “I think I understand.”
“It’s the same for families. When the older ones are gone, new ones, like you and your sister, take their places. One day I took my father’s place.”
Jimmy squinted and asked, “You had a father?”
The old man chuckled. “He was your great grandfather. Remember the heart?”
Jimmy looked up there again. “Now I get it.”
Just then Sarah came back with a bouquet of flowers. “What about the heart?”
He smiled. “There were your great grandparents, then your grandmother and me. Next came your parents, and now we have the two of you.”  He took a heavy breath. “One day I’ll be gone.” He rubbed his knees. “Your grandpa’s getting a little worn out. Soon it will be time for me to go away.”
Sarah handed the flowers to her grandfather and then hugged around his neck. “But I don’t want you to go away, Boompa.”
Not long after their visit, the family traveled to the farm again for their grandfather’s funeral. Everyone cried and Jimmy felt very sad.
After they’d been back home for a few weeks, something exciting happened. When Jimmy and Sarah played on the slide in their swing set, a large truck roared to a stop in front of their house. When it stopped, the brakes squeaked. On the back of the truck, Jimmy noticed stacks of boards piled high. As the men unloaded the boards, the children’s father came home early from work.
They ran to him. “What’s happening, Dad?” Sarah asked.
He smiled. “It’s a big surprise.”
“You knew about this?” Jimmy asked.
Their father nodded. “I helped plan it all. This is something your grandfather wanted very much to do for you.”
Jimmy looked down. “But he’s gone now.”
“I mean he wanted it for you and Sarah.”
“Well what is it?” she asked.
He explained to them how their grandfather had arranged for his favorite tree to be cut down, made into boards, and shipped to them. He even drew up the plans for a great tree house.”
“Did you know he was a builder?” Sarah asked.
Her father smiled. “I sure did.”
After a lot of cutting with loud saws, and pounding of hammers, their tree house rested proudly in the branches of their tree. Jimmy and Sarah’s father brought out a note that their grandfather had given him to read at this moment.
“Today you have a new tree house, built from the wood of my favorite oak tree. Each time you enjoy playing in it, I hope it will help you to think of me. Now the memory of your grandfather, and that great, old tree, can live on as something new.”
As the children’s mother stood with them, their father reached down and picked up one more board. He took a power screwdriver and headed up the ladder where he set the board in place and fastened it to the front of that beautiful tree house. When he’d finished, the children could clearly see that on the new board were the same carved heart, and initials of their great grandparents. And the old piece of wood sparkled with a shiny, new finish.
Later the children sat up inside their beautiful tree house. Jimmy was the first to speak.
“Mom said Grandpa went to a better place.”
Sarah frowned. “A better place?”
Her brother nodded. “Uh huh.”
“I’m not exactly sure, but I remember he told me that one day we’d see him again up there.”
Sarah sniffed back her tears and looked up. “I sure miss Boompa.”
“Me, too,” Jimmy told her.
After they climbed down the ladder, Jimmy looked up at the top of the tree house where those initials had been carved into the rugged bark from the old tree. A small tear formed, rolled to the corner of his eye and down his cheek, even as a smile came to his face.
Winter seemed especially cold to Jimmy that year. He often found himself sitting at his bedroom window, staring out at the tree house, and remembering his grandfather. That made him smile every time.

The End

If you enjoyed this story, come back from time to time and I’ll post others. Until then, you can find several of my adventure and mystery books here 
Thanks for stopping by,

Max Elliot Anderson

Monday, March 23, 2020

(1) Willy The Wrong Way Rabbit - A FREE Short Story for Kids Who Are Stuck at Home

With your kids cooped up in the house, I have a few FREE short stories that might help them fight boredom. The first one, “Willy The Wrong Way Rabbit,” is available today.

Willy The Wrong Way Rabbit

A young rabbit stood outside his home, looked down at the ground and mumbled, “Willy the wrong way rabbit.” He shook his head and repeated, “Willy the wrong way rabbit.” He took a deep breath. “That’s what they call me, Willy the wrong way rabbit.”
Willy wasn’t worse than other rabbits. His ears may have drooped nearly to the ground, but he had the same color of fur, and his bushy tail looked just as nice as any other rabbit’s in the woods. Still, poor Willy really did have a big problem. No matter what he was supposed to do, Willy always did it the wrong way. For example, most rabbits take off running with a hop, skip, and a jump. But not Willy. He started out with a jump, skip, and then a hop.
His mother had nearly given up trying to teach Willy the right ways. That’s because, two days ago, she asked him to take out the garbage. Instead, Willy brought trash into the house and stacked it neatly in the hallway. “One of these days,” his mother scolded, “something very bad could happen to you if you don’t stop, look, and listen.” In fact, on that very day, she had taken him down to the railroad tracks where a sign with those exact words of warning stood guard at the crossing. But Willy didn’t stop, he didn’t look, and he didn’t listen. He charged right toward the tracks just as a fast-moving passenger train roared through. Lucky for Willy, his mother grabbed his little coat just before that monster streaked only inches in front of his twitching nose. He held his breath and closed his eyes tight.
For nearly a minute after the train had passed, his mother couldn’t speak. But when she did, Willy knew he was in trouble. “Willy the wrong way rabbit,” she said in a trembling voice. “Whatever shall become of you?” And that was the last time she had tried to teach him.
When Willy’s friends teased him about being the wrong way rabbit, they weren’t simply being unkind. Willy always did things the wrong way. Like whenever he ate dinner with his family. If all the other rabbits at the table passed serving bowls from the right to the left, Willy tried to pass them in the opposite direction, which was wrong. If he were told to turn left, he went right. It was no use telling Willy to go up the path because he’d turn and go down. To Willy, left was right, black was white, day was night, up was down, hot was cold, in was out, under was over, and fast was slow.
Willy hopped out into the woods where he could think about his problems. He stayed out there for a long time. Later he wandered down by Webster’s Creek where he spoke quietly. “I’ve always been a happy rabbit. Having fun is just a habit. If there’s a carrot, I will grab it. I can’t help I’m a wrong way rabbit.” After sitting on the bank for a while longer, he heard a familiar voice.
“Hey Willy! Where’ve you been?”
He looked up at his friend Wilbur. 
“We haven’t seen hide nor hair of you?”
Willy blinked. “Huh?”
His friend laughed. “It’s a rabbit joke, Willy.”
Willy rubbed his nose. “I’ve been around. What about you?”
“We hopped past where the watermelons grow.”
“Willy smacked his lips. “Watermelons. What a wonderful taste. Who was guarding them?”
“Old Man Woodman, why?”
Willy’s ears stood up a little straighter. “What was he doing?”
“Why was he whistling?”
Wilbur sat next to his friend. “Whenever he knows we aren’t around, he whistles.”
Willy turned to Wilbur. “Where was his dog, King?” 
“Whining in the bushes at the end of a strong rope.”
Willy shook his head. “Wonder why?”
“Who knows?”
Willy stood up. “Wow, wouldn’t a watermelon be delicious on a hot day like this?”
Wilbur stood next to him. “What are you thinking?”
“Well, Wilbur, why don’t we get all of our friends, hop on over to Woodman’s yard and go through his fence tonight?”
“What if King whines?” Wilbur asked in alarm.
“Who cares? That dog can’t catch all of us. Besides, Old Man Woodman doesn’t hear very well anymore.”
So, after dark that night, Willy, along with other rabbits Wilbur, Wyatt, Weldon, Walt, and Warren headed for the back fence behind Old Man Woodman’s property. A full moon shined its light on their path. Willy had been warned many times, by his mother, “Stay out of gardens. We have plenty of our own food. A rabbit can go into a garden and never come out.”
Mr. Woodman’s fence hadn’t been repaired for many years. Several of the boards had loosened so that, if a rabbit wanted to, he could easily push them to one side and have all the fresh carrots, lettuce, and other vegetables he wanted. And right now, Willy wanted all of them; even though he knew it was wrong. He and his friends pushed their way through the fence. They stopped on the other side, right in front of the straightest garden rows any hungry rabbit has ever seen.
Willy’s tummy made a hungry rumble. He looked closer. “Not a weed anywhere,” he told the others. Then, as if they were in their own, personal produce department at the grocery store, each rabbit began picking and eating nearly everything in sight. Before long, they completely forgot about Old Man Woodman, his dog King, or anything else. And that was a big mistake.
On their very first visit to this garden, Willy and his friends made sure they knew where the dog had been tied and the length of his rope. Willy may have been the first to hear it tonight, he wasn’t really sure. But one thing he was sure of is a low growl cut through the night air, just to his left, or was it his right? No matter which one it was, Willy knew he and his friends were in danger. 
Good thing that hound is still tied up, he thought. Willy slowly opened one eye. What he saw made him squeeze his eyes shut and wait. The next thing he felt was the hot breath from Mr. Woodman’s dog. Willy noticed that Old Man Woodman had tied an extra length into King’s rope. Now he could chase rabbits two times farther than before. Right then Willy knew he was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing, and he hadn’t even made it to the watermelon patch yet.
Willy opened his other eye. That’s when he noticed his friends eating lettuce in the row next to where he hid. He had two choices. Willy could stay hidden, or he could warn his friends and put himself in danger. He thought for only a second or two. Then he stood up, took a big bunny breath, and called out in his loudest voice, “Run for your lives!”
His friends dropped what they were eating and dashed for the fence. The growling hound turned around toward Willy and cut off his path of escape. And that’s when Willy noticed something. In an instant, he dove under King, ran through his four legs, and streaked toward the iron stake at the other end of the rope. Well, King had no choice. He spun around and followed as fast as he could. When he reached the stake, Willy kept right on running around and around and around as King chased only inches behind him, flashing his sharp teeth, until something surprising happened. King came to a sudden stop. That dog had wound his rope around that stake until he could run no more.
Next, Willy did the right thing for only the second time in his life. He didn’t run the wrong way. Instead, he raced straight for the fence, burst through, and tumbled into the grass on the other side where his friends met him. They all cheered and hopped around as they shouted, “Willy, Willy, the right way rabbit!”
From that day on, Willy listened to his mother, and even though he made mistakes from time to time, Willy tried his best to do the right thing so no one could call him Willy the wrong way rabbit ever again.
The End
If you enjoyed this story, come back from time to time and I’ll post others. Until then, you can find several of my adventure and mystery books here 
Thanks for stopping by,

Max Elliot Anderson

Monday, December 23, 2019

I grew up hating to how did I become an author for middle grade readers?

I grew up hating to how did I become an author for middle grade readers? Sometimes I ask myself the same question.

Still, it’s true. I didn’t like to read as a child. This was ironic because my father was an author who published 77 books during his life. Many of them were for kids, but I couldn’t have been less interested. Several years ago, I decided to look into why I didn’t enjoy reading. That research resulted in my decision to begin writing the kinds of books I would have enjoyed as a child. 

A recent issue of Newsweek carried a cover story warning, “The Boy Crisis. At Every Level of Education, They're Falling Behind. What to Do?” Since reluctant reading is primarily a problem for boys, I’ve found my books are filling an important need. 

My professional background has always involved the production of films, television commercials, and video programs. I’m a visual learner. So I began to incorporate some of those visual concepts into my writing. For example, readers won’t find these books to be heavy on descriptions. Boys especially want a story that moves rapidly. I chose to write many of the stories with completely different characters, setting, and plot. My work also includes two series. But as a child, I had a hard time accepting the concept of a group of friends, or cousins, or a brother and sister who would get up, every Saturday morning, go out into the back yard, and save the world…again. For that reason, each story in those series can stand alone.

Letters and emails from readers and their parents indicate that these new books are hitting their mark. Yet, not only are they enjoyed by reluctant boy readers, but avid boy readers, girls, and even adults get swept away in the stories, action, and adventure. 

Here is just a sampling of the comments that I regularly receive about these unique books.   

A mother writes, “I can't believe it the concerned mother of two struggling readers...who is also the daughter of a children's librarian ... I think I have purchased every book recommended for reluctant readers  however, they have all fallen short until today. We were able to purchase our first Max Elliot Anderson book...and we're hooked!!!"

A teacher reported, "This year, we started with one of your books. The students are already finished with it. Our school only planned on using three of your books for the whole year. Now we’ll have to buy more titles.”

Another mother said, "At last we've found something that will interest him in reading."  

A school administrator wrote, “It is a joy to see our students, especially boys, asking for more! I can recommend every book without hesitation. While reading the first one, I had trouble putting it down. Max Elliot Anderson, the author of these books, has a unique ability to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. As a grandparent I am encouraged that the books creatively and appropriately weave Christian character traits and biblical principles through the life of the main character and his friends. Parents, you will find this true of every book.”

It is often said in business, find a need and fill it. We have a need to capture the interest and imagination of the next generation, or risk losing our readers. Today, kids have so many other, more visual distractions with personal electronic devices, television, computers, video games, and DVDs. It takes a different kind of book to hold their interest. These books will hold their interest.

My books are compared by readers and reviewers to a modern day Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo and adventure author Jack London. 

Children write to me after reading one of my books. They have said that reading one of these middle grade mysteries or adventures is like being in an exciting or scary movie…good scary and not dark.


Tuesday, December 03, 2019

"The Great Cave Caper" - middle grade adventure, Is Now Published!

"The Great Cave Caper" - middle grade adventure, Is Now Published!

Four boys had formed a detective club in their little town where nothing much ever happens. That is, until they put their money together and ordered a police scanner for the shack where they held their meetings. The area around where they lived, in New Market, Virginia, was littered with caves. The uncle of one of the club’s members has a cave right on his farm. That’s when the guys hatched the idea of going out to the cave for a little innocent exploring. The cave was on private property, so they knew they’d be safe and no one could bother them. But on the night before their big adventure, the scanner came alive with reports of a big bank heist in a nearby city. The boys thought surely the robbers would be long gone by the time they set up their campsite near the cave. They were wrong. Inside the cave the next morning they found something. Now the robbers were coming in the entrance of the cave and the boys couldn’t get out.


*Anderson’s action packed thrill-a-minute page turner… 

*After learning of a bank robbery, they went on a camping trip and while exploring a cave, discover hidden loot from the robbery. Now they must figure out what the right thing to do is -- and deal with powerful temptations to the contrary. The Great Cave Caper is not only a rollicking good story, it has embedded within it some very good personal values for young readers to absorb.
Midwest Book Review

*Had me sitting on the edge of my seat.

*The author really made this book easy on the eyes because it didn't have many "big" words. Also, the author wrote in such a way that I could picture exactly what was going on, such as when Stewart was looking down into a hole in the cave and dropped his helmet. I could hear the flashlight coming apart from the helmet and breaking into the wall. I like this book because it was easy to read, yet it had me sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen to the kids in the next sentence!

*Kept me glued until the last letter. I really liked the fact that they had a police scanner, just like I hope to someday. I also enjoyed all the cool facts about caves, and the eternal lesson of honesty and teamwork. This book makes a perfect gift! Five stars!

*This book is intended for younger ages, but in my opinion anyone of any age could enjoy this delightful book. And it comes with an extra feature at the end, a list of Hampton, Virginia’s police and fire department codes!

*Most significant in this story is the fact that Randy learns what a true hero is and how that connects with present events as well as major historical events in the not so distant past!!!
Kudos on a finely written tale – again

*The Great Cave Caper is an exciting read guaranteed to keep the interest of even the most reluctant reader. It is full of information about caves. I didn’t find anything I disliked. It held my interest from page one—and my twelve-year-old son is anxious to get his hand on the book and read it for himself. 

*Writer Anderson has fashioned an easily read, action packed, high adventure novel sure to please middle grade readers. Anderson appears to know his audience well, boys in this age group often shy away from books in favor of action and activity. The Great Cave Caper is a book I will take to my classroom, 4th grade, with the expectation that the setting and plot will draw reluctant readers into the storyline. Heroism, life lessons, values and expectations for behavior are presented in a non-preachy manner.  Writer Anderson’s thrill packed page turner is filled with intensity, grit and determination. Anderson keeps the action moving. Quick-paced dialog, interspersed with adroitly wrought action scenes produce a certain winner for the target audience. Anderson’s command of language draws the reader into the work and carries interest from the opening paragraphs as Randy awakens at home in his own bed right down to the last lines as Randy discusses what true heroism is and how he can help honor the heroes, emergency workers, who work to keep us all safe each day. The Great Cave Caper is an excellent choice for the classroom, personal reading list and the school and home library. Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.

Max Elliot Anderson - author of exciting adventures and mysteries for readers 8 - 13.