The Reading Eagles

TPCA Media Class… Grow In Grace



The Last 13 – Action on Every Page

Review of:  The Last 13 by James Phelan

Reviewed by: Elizabeth Schafer

“I snap my fingers and everybody dies!” Can you even imagine living in a world where someone that evil has the power to control your life? This is the reality for unfortunate Sam, the main character in The Last 13 by James Phelan.  He has become the target for the very powerful and evil Solaris. Sam has the ability to see the future, one that’s not very pretty. With Sam orchestrating a revolt, there is a growing chance that Solaris can be defeated! Sam and his friends are now working together in the attempt to defeat the very destructive Solaris, who seeks the treasure that Leonardo da Vinci is thought to have left behind.  The treasure they are seeking is not man-made. To find out what the treasure is, you must read this book… Experience the power of teamwork in this novel that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat!

This book honestly had me so enamored that I had no interest in TV or my electronics for a week. It was as if the book was glued to my hand from the moment I picked it up! What got me hooked from the very beginning was how the exposition was filled with action. Within the first few pages, Sam had been taken hostage! I’ve wracked my brain and cannot come up with any part of this book that I didn’t love… well, except for the cliffhanger ending which nearly killed me! It was just too suspenseful! Be sure to have the second book in the series, The Last 13, #12  at the ready! This read, like all outstanding books, makes you feel as if you were there. I felt like I heard and felt the reverberations from the bombs going off!  Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was that it is written in 1st person- I felt like I WAS Sam.  While I was reading, I felt many emotions alongside him. I was happy, scared, tense, nervous and joyful.   Ahhh, a book after my own heart!

The Last 13 would be a fantastic read for many people like my friend Jake, who loves to read a book that has the element of action on every page. Well, here you go!  One cautionary note: I would suggest that you are 9 or older before taking this adventure due to mild violence and tense situations. Don’t let this stop you! Just maybe pause. This book is a quick read and a most excellent adventure to take!

Adventures can start anywhere

Hobbit_coverReview of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Reviewed by Colin

Do you think an adventure with slaying dragons, giant spiders, and gruesome goblins could start in a peaceful place where a peaceful hobbit lives?  Well it can.  In The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit. Hobbits are very short (compared to humans) and prefer comfort to excitement (must be boring to plan parties for them). One day Bilbo meets Gandalf the Great who is a wizard. Gandalf is looking for people to go on an adventure. Bilbo being a hobbit says no, but Gandalf see potential in him and puts a mark on his door. The next day Gandalf and 13 dwarves come to his house. Thorin the dwarves leader is the son of Tharin who was the king of The Lonely Mountain. Thorin and the other dwarves wants to reclaim the mountain because Smaug who is a dragon, killed most everybody living there and claimed the mountain for his own. Thorin asked Gandalf to find another person to go on their adventure with because Gandalf would not go all of the way and they did not want to have an unlucky amount of people. Gandalf choose Bilbo and somehow convinces him to go with them the following day.

After traveling for a while they take refuge in The Misty Mountains. They think they are safe, but then they are all captured by goblins except Gandalf. The Great Goblin almost kills Thorin but then Gandalf blinds the Goblins, kills The Great Goblin, and leads Bilbo and the dwarves away from the goblins and run away, but the goblins are hot in pursuit. Bilbo accidentally gets nocked out and left behind, and when he wakes up he is lost in the goblin caves. He finds a ring on the floor and puts it in his pocket unaware of the power it has. Bilbo then meets Gollum. Gollum is like a hobbit, but he has skin like a fish and is cruel and evil. Gollum challenges Bilbo to a riddle contest and says if he wins he eats Bilbo, but if Bilbo wins he will show him the way out. Bilbo wins but Gollum still tries to eat him. Bilbo puts on the ring and runs away, but then he realizes the ring makes him invisible. Gollum goes to the exit thinking Bilbo actually knew where it was and Bilbo follows. Bilbo escapes and meets up with Gandalf and the dwarves. Later they are surrounded by goblins, and wargs (evil wolves that are friends with goblins) they think all hope is lost but then they are saved by the Lord  of the Eagles. He gives them food and sends them back on their way. Then they go to the entrance of Mirkwood which is a big dark gloomy forest full of danger. They are mournful because Gandalf is leaving them. Will they be able to pass Mirkwood, kill Smaug, and reclaim the mountain or will they crumble?

he Hobbit was the best book I ever read. Tolkien is truly a master at writing. One of my favorite things about the book is all of the symbolism. Some examples are Gandalf being like Jesus, and elves being like angels, and goblins being like demons. Another great thing is all of the description and word choice. Tolkien chooses just the right words for all of his sentences, and when he describes things he adds so much detail. Even though there some slow parts in The Hobbit there is tons of action. I enjoy how the action in the book is like butter on bread it is spread out, not in one place. I think everyone ages 10 and up should read this novel. I got more out of this book than I did in any other book. The Hobbit is by far the best piece of literature I have ever read.

fellowshioReview of:  The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Reviewed by: Caleb

“One ring to rule them all.” In The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, Frodo Baggins is a pleasant hobbit who lives with his relative Bilbo Baggins. When Bilbo leaves home one day, Frodo inherits everything Bilbo owned, including a gold ring. The wizard Gandalf, a friend of Frodo, tells him the ring contains great evil. He must go to Mt. Doom and destroy the ring in its fiery pits. When Frodo sets off, his friends Sam, Merry, and Pippin come with him. While they’re traveling they encounter mysterious cloaked horsemen called black riders, who are asking about Frodo. Apparently, a great evil wants the ring. When they enter the land of Withywindle accidentally after defeating evil trees, strange things start happening. Another evil tree attacks! Luckily, they are saved by a strange man named Tom Bombadil, who aids them again when the hobbits are captured. Then, they go to an Inn called the Prancing Pony where they meet Strider, a ranger and friend of Gandalf.  With this new helper, the party goes to Weathertop Hill, but the black riders attack. In the midst of the fray, Frodo is stabbed by one of their evil blades and must be taken to the elves for healing; he barely makes it to the house of Elrond, elf lord of Rivendell.

In Rivendell, Frodo is reunited with Gandalf, his friends, and even Bilbo!  Elrond, an elf lord, holds a council. Dwarves, men, hobbits, and elves are all there. It is revealed that Gandalf had been captured, but escaped. Then comes the matter of the ring. Who will take it to be destroyed? Frodo says he will, but he doesn’t go alone. A fellowship forms, made up of Gandalf, Legolas, Golin, Frodo, Strider (actually the king Arogorn), Boromir, Sam, Merry, and Pippin. They call themselves the Fellowship of The Ring.  Will they complete the quest or not?

I think The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring is a very well-written novel. The quest is full of danger, action, and magic. I also enjoyed all the humorous complaints from the travelers. I think the theme is power corrupts; I saw this multiple times when all the people would ask for the ring, and act angry or not themselves. I think it is because of the ring’s power that the people were becoming cruel. While reading, I felt excited because of all the twists and turns on the journey. I rate this book three and one half stars.

I recommend this book to people 12 and up, because the book is long and there are many advanced words. I also recommend this novel to people who like fantasy, because this book is choc-full of it.

Into Middle Earth, Into Adventure


Review of: The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

Reviewed by: Jake

“Third time pays well.”  One day there was a hobbit who enjoyed doing the expected, but did something completely unexpected. Let me explain; one day a little fellow with hairy feet, Tookish blood, and a highly respectable reputation named Bilbo Baggins was asked to do the unpredictable. You see, a dwarf by the name of Thorin, his company of 12, and a wizard named Gandalf came to Bilbo’s hobbit hole. Once the dwarfs and the wizard came in, they got right to business. Bilbo overheard their commotion about treasure. Then the “Took” in him woke up, which means that his adventurous spirit woke up like his ancestor, Bullroarer Took. One month later, Bilbo was on a journey to a mountain that once belonged to Thorin’s ancestors, but fell into the claws of a treacherous creature. Bilbo had to do many, many daring things to stay alive and venture on to the mountain. For example, he had to escape the household of Gollum, battle gigantic spiders, escape and elven prison, and kill goblins, trolls and wargs.. After many obstacles, he and the dwarfs (Gandlaf had left them) arrived at the mountain where they met Smaug. Fortunately, Smaug left, but they weren’t safe, not yet.

The Hobbit was … I can’t describe how brilliant it was. J.R.R. Tolkien described the creatures so well, yet it didn’t take four pages do to it; I could vividly see wargs in my mind due to the description.  The story also showed symbolism in so many ways; the story shows the spiritual battles that go on every day through their battles with trolls, goblins, and spiders. I marveled how the author shows Bilbo slowly conquering his mountain of fear and learning to have courage and never give up even if he is struggling. This book was superb, wonderful, and… you know, if I made a list of all the adjectives describing this book, you’d be sitting here on the computer reading this review for a couple of centuries, so I’ll just end this paragraph by saying: it is stupendous!

The Hobbit blew my mind (well, if it did this review wouldn’t exist and I would be in the hospital) and I recommend it with 100% of my heart.  Unfortunately, some scenes are gruesome, so I think this book should be read by people at the age of 10 or older. This book pushed the limits of awesomeness to an entirely different level.

The Trials for Treasure

Hobbit_coverReview of:  The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Reviewed by:  Erica

The last thing Bilbo Baggins, from the novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Toilken, wanted was an adventure; but an adventure is exactly what he got when Gandalf, the greatest wizard in all the land, selected him as the burglar for a risky mission. (And believe me, Gandalf does not take no for an answer.) The mission? Bilbo, Gandalf, and 13 dwarves were to all journey to the Lonely Mountain to retrieve the ancestral treasure of Thorin, which is worth a fortune, from a devious dragon. Easier said than done. And besides, quite frankly, Bilbo is more absorbed in peaceful tea time and carelessly blowing smoke rings than slaying some dragon named Smaug. His priorities much change from savoring his comfortable Hobbit-Hole to just surviving. Every action he takes could mean his survival or his death. Clumsy trolls, wicked goblins, and nefarious wargs seem to make it their business to ensure that their adventure is unsuccessful. They travel through deep murky forests, cross ice cold streams, and climb countless rocky mountains. As their days become more and more treacherous, Bilbo longs more and more for his home. He needs courage and the will to go on more than ever. His bravery is his only weapon, and his courage is tested when in the distance the Lonely Mountain looms, frowning upon the valley.

If deep, meaningful, touching novels are your favorite, I would recommend The Hobbit.  If you crave for a lot, (and I mean a lot,) of adventure and mythical creatures, The Hobbit is your book. So basically if you like fantasy, you’d appreciate this novel. The figurative language is ingenious, and in my notes I was constantly jotting down similes, metaphors, personification, and idioms. I kept noting the themes and Biblical connections I made and recorded all of the amazing vocabulary. By page 306, my copy was nearly falling apart from all of my notes. The writing was plain brilliant. There’s no other way to put it. It blew my mind. Bilbo’s courage and perseverance grew throughout the story, and I love seeing a character transform over the length of the book. It was so well written that I was able to compare a lot of the creatures and characters to the Bible. Over all, The Hobbit wasn’t my favorite book ever, but that was mostly because fantasy is not a genre I enjoy. I prefer books that I can relate to my own life. The only reason I didn’t love it was because of the genre. The writing was astounding; I can’t say that enough. So, I guess this book was okay after all!

I recommend The Hobbit to readers who love adventure packed books. If you like to dig deep into your reading, this is your novel. I’d say you should be at least 11 years old to read this, because this is not an easy read.


The First Tower

two towers

Review of: Part One of  The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

Reviewed By: Lucas

They’re scattered like seeds in a field. The Fellowship broke apart, but Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli stayed together. They found Boromir dead, so they gathered the weapons of the orcs he slayed while dying, and sent him with the weapons down a river. Then thewent to find Merry and Pippin.

Meanwhile, Merry and Pippin were tied by orcs and headed for Isengard.During one stop, the orcs were attacked, and the hobbits escaped. They sprinted to Fanghorn Forest where they met an ent named Treebeard, also known as Fanghorn, an ent is a tree giant. They roused up Treebeard against Isengard, and he angered the ent council, the ent council roused up the rest of the ents. Merry, Pippin, and all of the ents attacked Isengard, and latter met Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli. They told them their story about tracking the hobbits.

Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli tracked The two hobbits up to where the orcs were attacked. There they met the Riders of Rohan. They lent them horses, they tracked the hobbits to Fanghorn, and they found Gandalf there. He told them to go back to Rohan with him.

At Rohan they saved a cursed king and traveled to attack Isengard, but retreated because there were too many orcs defending. After the attack, the orcs attacked, so Rohan defended their fort. After they killed all of the Isengard orcs, they went to Isengard to find ruin, Merry, Pippin, and Treebeard. They all went to visit Sarumon, their enemy, and Worntongue, the enemy’s assistant, in the Orthonic, which is the first tower in the book. They talked a bit about fake peace. Then they left.

I thought The Two Towers  just as amazing as the first book, The Fellowship of the Ring, I loved it. I thought it was awesome when the ents were getting roused up, because it was  exciting. I also thought the battle at Helm’s Deep was one of the coolest parts, because the whole time I read it, i was wondering which side would win.  J.R.R. Tolkien did an amazing job writing the sequel. I learned that size does not matter in adventures. Merry and Pippin helped take down a walled city, and i’m about their size.

I think if you are above sixth grade and you have read the first book, you should definitely read The Two Towers because it was amazing. You need to read the first novel before you read this one or it will make no sense at all. Definitely read these books if you have not.

Complicated Tests and Obstacles

Review of: The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart

Reviewed by: Graham S

mysterious benedict“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” In The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart, this is an advertisement that was in the daily newspaper that caught four kids’ attentions: Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance.  All these kids pass extremely complicated tests cleverly created by Mr. Benedict. Mr. Benedict is a jolly, small, plump man who is looking for a team of kids to defeat an evil mastermind. The mastermind is telepathically sending secret messages to ordinary people’s minds. The messages make them socially disappear by erasing their minds and personality. Mr. Curtain, the evil mastermind, made a school for highly talented kids; he uses these kids to send the secret messages. So, Mr. Benedict sends Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance to the school. Reynie is a very smart and clever orphan. Sticky’s real name is George, but everyone calls him Sticky because anything he sees or reads “sticks” in his mind. Kate is very tall and athletic; she also wears a bucket around her waist that has any special tools that might come in handy. Constance is a grumpy, annoying, short girl, but by the end of the story she will surprise you. While they are at the school, they are only Students; they need to increase their rank up to Messengers, so they can find out hidden information. Every night the kids are supposed to use Morse Code with their flashlights to communicate with Mr. Benedict. Quickly, Reynie and Sticky are among the few of Mr. Curtain’s favorite students. Kate and Constance are falling back in their schoolwork, so the team decides to cheat, but Sticky gets caught. Surprisingly, Mr. Curtain lets Sticky off the hook, but Mr. Curtain has a feeling that the kids are up to something. The team finds out very interesting and important facts and clues throughout the story. They learn to work together and trust each other.  Will they ever defeat Mr. Curtain? Will they ever get out of the wretched school safely?

I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. Trenton Lee Stewart did a great job explaining and describing the characters and story. He made it feel like I’m right in the story with them. Another reason I liked this is because of how different the characters are and how they learn to get along and work as a team. They all have certain strengths and weaknesses. They learn that they all have to work together or they won’t accomplish anything.

I would recommend The Mysterious Benedict Society to kids ages 10-14 because younger children wouldn’t understand some of the words. Also, it wasn’t a piece of cake to keep up in what was going in the story. If you are 10-14 this is the perfect book for you to read if you are looking for some action, humor, and fun.




Fuzzy but Fierce

REVIEW OF: Watership Down by Richard Adams

REVIEWimageED BY: Rachel

“Here comes Peter Cotton Tail hopping down the bunny trail…” then, BOOM!  Here comes General Woundwart, with a thirst for blood and vengeance.  In Richard Adams’ Watership Down, rabbits are doing everything but peacefully hopping down a bunny trail.  Fiver, a rabbit who just may end up being the savior of his warren, had been having terrifying visions that display his warren and his family being demolished.  Fiver’s brother, Hazel, is very trusting and devoted to his younger brother, so off they go into the woods, with all of the rabbits they could persuade to come with them, hoping to avoid sudden death. Hazel, the leader of the pack, leads them very well as they trek through the forest, scattering at any sudden movement for fear of the unknown.  The group encounters some predicaments: savage rabbits, hungry predators, even some murderous humans. After many close-calls, the travelers finally find a place to settle down and start their own warren. Suddenly, they come to the realization that they have a huge problem: they don’t have any does. Without does, or female rabbits, their warren will not be able to thrive, for there would be no way to breed and mate. The rabbit leaders devise a plan to invite some does back to their home from a neighboring warren, but their neighbors aren’t terribly friendly. You see, any rabbit who enters the other warren is not allowed to leave, so getting does out of it proves to be more difficult than expected, especially with a very powerful Chief Rabbit, General Woundwart, standing in their way. Strong-minded and unwelcoming to outsiders, General Woundwart proves to be a roadblock the rabbits are unable to avoid, so with Hazel’s group’s wits and General Woundwart’s strength, the outcome of this war could be very different than expected.

Watership Down is definitely not just for the animal-loving type; no, it is for any reader who loves a good, classic adventure novel.  Sure, the whole book is about rabbits, but the action and adventure absolutely makes the story for anyone. I enjoyed the novel for many reasons. I especially liked the humor throughout the book. I loved how ignorant the rabbits were to man-made inventions and even the stories that made up their own mythology on how they “came to be.” I also enjoyed the character development. For instance, at the beginning of the book, Hazel just wanted to save his own skin and get out of harm’s way, but, by the end of the story, he became the leader the rabbits needed to survive. Overall, Watership Down is a very enjoyable and lively book to just sit down and read.

I definitely recommend this novel, for I feel that many kids and even adults from ages 11 and up would enjoy it. The topic of the rabbits going on this great adventure in the woods is perfect for children, but the novel is long and I would’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t ready to read an almost five-hundred page book.  Also, although the novel is action-packed, it can kind of a drag at some points, but if you pull through the slow parts, you will no doubt be rewarded later.  Watership Down is a great book for almost any stage in your life, and I hope that if you read it, you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Tremendous Mr.Tucket

Review of: Mr. Tucket

Reviewed by: Colin 

mr tucket

Have you ever been excited from a birthday present? Francis Tucket was a bit too excited with one particular birthday present. In Mr. Tucket by Gary Paulsen, Francis Tucket is heading west with his family to Oregon on a wagon train.  It is Francis’s birthday and he is surprised when he finds out his mother has made a cake for him: Francis thought there would be no presents because he thought he knew all the items in the wagon, but Francis was wrong and is amazed when his father gives him a rifle specially made for him.  Francis goes to try it out immediately.  Francis gets so engrossed in the rifle that he does not realize how far ahead the wagon train has gone, so he is very startled when Pawnee take his rifle and knock him out.  He awakes at the Pawnee camp where he is “owned” by the wife of one of the men who captured him.  He is treated like a dog, made fun of, and kicked by other boys.  Francis did things that were considered woman work such as gathering firewood.  One day Francis sees a white man with one arm waltz into the Indian camp, and soon learns  he is a man who trades with the Pawnees named Mr. Grimes. Then, that night, Francis is awakened by Mr. Grimes who tells him to take a horse and follow a path to where they would meet again. Francis sucssesfully escapes and sees Mr. Grimes the next day. Mr. Grimes asks what his name is and Francis replies with his full name. Mr. Grimes didn’t like his name so he decides to call him Mr. Tucket. Mr. Grimes also got Francis’s rifle back so he teaches Francis how to shoot it accuretly and reload it faster. Mr. Grimes also teaches Francis how to survive in the wilderness. Will Francis ever find his family? Will he survive with Mr. Grimes? You will have to read Mr. Tucket to find out.

I think Mr. Tucket is a spectacular book.  One of my favorite things in Mr. Tucket is Mr. Grimes’ character: I love his personality and his accuracy with a gun.  I also enjoyed how the story just goes along fixing problems as they arise.  It  has only  one major question, ”will Francis ever see his family again” , the rest are survival problems. I found Francis easy to relate to since he is close to my age.  I enjoyed thinking of what thoughts he could have had that were not said, or what I would have thought if I were him.  I think Mr. Tucket should be on your “to read” list.

Mr. Tucket is a must read.  I recommend this book to ages 9-12. I say this because it is easy to read, however the ending is a little gruesome. people who enjoy historical fiction and realistic adventure would enjoy this book immensely.  Mr Tucket is a wonderful story about survival and the coming of age that you should read.




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