Reviewed by Gracie Bradford for Readers’ Favorite
Mayflower: Fly on the Wall Series is written by Linda Smigaj. This 50-page fiction book written for 7-10-year-olds by a retired elementary school teacher of 34 years conveys a powerful lesson. The main characters are Professor Beatrice Fuddy-Duddy and Anna, a cheese fly. The story dates back 400 years, starting in the year 1620 to chronicle the arrival of a ship called the Mayflower. Anna is a cute little character dressed in a stunning, colorful outfit; she wears a bow tie and displays colorful wings. The book contains journal entries about what transpires on the ship as seen through the eyes of a fly. Anna brings new meaning to the traditional phrase, “as a fly on the wall.” I think this book would be an excellent addition to classrooms of a younger age group, given the exceptional illustrations throughout the book and a well-developed story line.
Linda introduces a lesson on early American history with a twist to make learning fun. This book has pictures throughout, making it easy to comprehend concepts. Equally important are ten non-fictional facts elementary school kids probably did not know about the journey of the Mayflower. A glossary provides additional insight into the story. The highlight of the book is illustrations of six flies dressed in an array of colors with unique shapes and forms. Kids will love these characters, and the questions associated with the pictures are sure to generate interesting discussions. The illustrations are outstanding. The main character is well developed and lends itself to a book series.
Reviewed By Tracy Slowiak for Readers’ Favorite
“Wow! Just, wow! How’s that for a review? Well, that was certainly my first thought when I finished reading Outback: Bothers and Sinisters: A Family Tree Novel by author Mark Wayne Adams. In an incredibly unique and interesting story line for young adult readers, the story follows Driew Qweepie, a ‘tween-aged’ boy who lives in a family filled with magic and ends up with a life filled with adventure. This first book in a planned series does a great job of introducing readers to Australian, American and Qweepie vernacular that will be necessary for the rest of books, but does so in a very intriguing manner. Young protagonist Driew must learn the importance of family, of home, and of history in this novel, and the journey he takes to get there will keep readers on the edge of their seats!
I so enjoyed reading Outback: Bothers and Sinisters. Author Mark Wayne Adams has done a fantastic job in creating characters that his young adult readers will have no problem in connecting with and relating to. His scene setting abilities are simply second to none, and his book provides a great message without making a reader feel as if they are being bonked over the head with it. Any young adult reader who enjoys an adventurous and fun read would enjoy this book. Any parent who is interested in a book that will allow their child to think and learn while reading should definitely pick this up for their loved one. I am pleased to recommend this book very highly, and look forward to reading more in this series as soon as more books are available!”
Reviewed By Ryan Jordan for Readers’ Favorite
Outback: Bothers and Sinisters, A Family Tree Novel by Mark Wayne Adams is an excellent novel about Driew, a character we meet tied up as a scarecrow and left behind by his brothers and sisters. He refers to them as his bothers and sinisters, and throughout the work we are gradually introduced to his family and start seeing what he is going through. We see his life as a middle school student, such as friends who are only friends while he can do something for them (buying cookies, sitting at their table) but stop being friends as soon as he is unable to perform. Worse still, he is tormented by his family, even while at school.
I really enjoyed reading this story, and there are a lot of moments that I am sure many tweens and teens will be able to relate to. It’s well written with a lot of snappy dialogue and clever descriptions. I like the way the story progresses from Driew not really having any friends to going on adventures, facing down tornadoes and his own family, and overcoming all of his obstacles. I also enjoyed how the author snuck in vernacular from the outback into the story and included a glossary and reading guide for anyone who is interested in learning more about it. This adds a little playfulness and depth to the overall story. Outback: Bothers and Sinisters, A Family Tree Novel by Mark Wayne Adams is a real winner of a story that young readers and adults of all ages will enjoy.