State of Reservations by Elysabeth Eldering

The Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS) returns in Book 3, State of Reservations by Elysabeth Eldering.

The adventure continues with the third book in this fabulous series for middle grade students. When Matt gets a surprise visit from Jolene, they decide to use his Junior Geography Detective Squad video game to study for an upcoming test. As usual, they place their bets, and the loser has to do whatever it is the winner has chosen–in this case, Matt will have to carry Jolene’s dance bag and participate in warm ups at her ballet class or Jolene will have to come to the skateboard park dressed in grungy clothes and watch Matt’s team compete on Saturday. Neither seems appealing and they are both determined to be the first one to figure out the clues and correctly guess the state in question.

I’ve been a fan of this series since it began. It’s a great way to help children learn interesting facts about the United States and it encourages them to learn more once the last page is turned. New characters pop up alongside the regular cast of characters in each book, which keeps readers eager to pick up the next book in the series.  The bets are funny and it’s entertaining to read along and see who ends up winning and witnessing the losers’ reactions. As with other books in the series, there is a section that includes additional facts about the state covered in the current book. There is also a set of discussion questions at the end.

I have a couple of tiny nitpicks for this one. I wasn’t as pleased with the illustrations in this book as compared to the previous two. There was one illustration I didn’t understand at all and another where I couldn’t even identify what the object in the illustration was until I read the text. I also noticed that the back cover spells Jolene’s name wrong twice. The word “Detective” was also left out of the series name on the back cover. Perhaps I received an ARC, but the  book isn’t identified as one.

Those small challenges don’t take away from a great story that will entertain and educate your children. State of Reservations by Elysabeth Eldering is just another reason for me to love the Junior Geography Detective Squad series. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC
  • ISBN-10: 0984070869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984070862
  • SRP:  $12.50

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    Vacation Time Reading

    Well, I’m packing up for the Outer Banks, and as usual, I am bringing a ton of books with me. Thankfully, this year I have the Kindle so my bag will be lighter and less bulky.

    Here’s what I’ll be reading while we’re away:

    • Lingering Spirit by Marilyn Meredith
    • The Last Operative by Jerry B. Jenkins
    • Keeping the Wolves at Bay Media Training  by Jonathan Bernstein
    • Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James
    • Plan B by Steven Verrier (this review will appear at this blog)
    • Bowdancer III: Warrior Women by Janie Franz (providing back cover blurb)
    • When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty by Jackie Johnson
    • Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey by  Diana M. Raab
    • Harvest Moon by Chastity Bush
    • Reservations by Elysabeth Eldering (this review will appear at this blog)
    • Evenings on Dark Island by Rhett DeVane & Larry Rock

    Unless noted, these reviews will appear at my main blog, The Book Connection

    I hope you have a great couple of weeks. I’ll try to post at least once while we’re away.

    Thank you for all your support!


    State of Quarries by Elysabeth Eldering

    JGDS_State_of_Quarries_cover_rock_fontThe Junior Geography Detective Squad returns in State of Quarries, the second book in this continuing series of the fifty states by Elysabeth Eldering.

    Matt is busy in his room studying when his younger sister Mary Beth strolls in begging to play the game Matt received as a gift from his mother. Like the typical older brother he says, “no”; but Mary Beth soon convinces him that a round would be fun. And like the last time when they played with Matt’s friend Guy, they place a bet. This time, the loser has to perform the other person’s most hated chore.

    Clue by clue pops up on the screen, each clue getting easier as they advance. Who will uncover the identity of the state in this round first? And who will be left doing double chores?

    I eagerly awaited the release of the second book in the Junior Geography Detective Squad series. Book 1, State of Wilderness introduced us to Matt Peterson, his mother, his best friend Guy and his younger sister Mary Beth, and led the kids along on an adventure that made learning fun.

    With Guy only being mentioned in the second book, but not present to participate in the game, State of Quarries depends upon the healthy competitive side of sibling rivalry to move the story along, as each sibling hopes to uncover the answer first and not be stuck with the other person’s most hated chore.

    As I mentioned when I reviewed State of Wilderness, Eldering really taps into what it is like to be a young person, so Matt and Mary Beth are realistic characters. They bicker, they tease, and they each want to win.

    Aidana WillowRaven returns to illustrate the second book, providing cover art and interior illustrations that help depict the clues and the handheld game. The rustic look of many of these illustrations subtly symbolizes the many years of history that the reader is uncovering as she picks up clue after clue and learns United States geography.

    Once the game is over and the state’s identity has been revealed, there is a section that provides more facts about the state and a series of discussion questions. This book is perfect not only for your child, but is also an excellent classroom resource. Teacher’s Guides are also available.

    Learning doesn’t get any more fun than this!

    Rating:    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC
  • ISBN-10: 097975139X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979751394
  • SRP:  $14.99
  • State of Wilderness by Elysabeth Eldering

    JGDS_State_of_Wilderness_by_Elysabeth_ElderingAre you looking for a fun and unique way to get your school-aged child interested in reading and geography? Look no further than State of Wilderness, the first book in Elysabeth Eldering’s Junior Geography Detective Squad series.

    When Matt Patterson’s mother gets him a new geography video game, he and his friend, Guy decide to try it out. Now, Junior Geography Detectives, the boys click through a series of clues to help them figure out which of the fifty United States this round of the game is referring to.

    Just to make it interesting, Matt and Guy wager that the person who guesses the right answer first gets to pick something for the loser to do–and it probably won’t be nice. And when Mary Beth, Matt’s younger sister joins in on the fun, it’s a race to see who will uncover which state could be known as the State of Wilderness.

    This is an impressive start to what I see as being a popular series of books to inspire a love of reading in young people. Eldering speaks their language, makes learning fun, and gives readers a reason to keep turning the pages. Readers will learn a variety of interesting tidbits about one of the fifty states in each book and this book ends with “Stay tuned for some more fun activities on the state,” followed by information about the state’s flag, a map and quiz, and a cryptogram that reveals the state’s motto.

    Kudos go out to illustrator Aidana WillowRaven whose artwork added visual tie-ins to the clues, placing each in the screen of the video game.

    The Junior Geography Detective Squad is a series you’ll certainly want to keep your eye on. I anxiously await the release of the next book.


    Rating:   🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC
  • ISBN-10: 0979751357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979751356
  • SRP:  $12.50 (U.S.)