Friday, January 8, 2010

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Dinosaurs for Kids

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Dinosaurs for Kids

Master Books (October 15, 2009)

***Special thanks to Robert Parrish of New Leaf Press for sending me a review copy.***


Ken Ham is the founder and executive director of Answers in Genesis in the USA and one of the most sought-after Christian speakers in North America. He is the author or co-author of many books and is heard daily on the radio program, “Answers...with Ken Ham,” on more than 300 stations worldwide. Ken is also featured in various videos including the series, “Answers in Genesis with Dr. Gary Parker,” and the 12-part series of 28-minute videos, “Answers...with Ken Ham.” Ken's teaching is clear, true to the Bible, engaging, and challenging. Many have found salvation and others have been encouraged and equipped to reach others with the gospel through Ken's ministry.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

Price: $14.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Master Books (October 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0890515557
ISBN-13: 978-0890515556


Dinosaurs for Kids


Ken Ham, illustrated by Bill Looney

Dinosaurs can provide a great way to learn about history. You may already be familiar with some of these dinosaurs. These drawings show you what we think they may have looked like. Now, we don’t know for sure, of course, as we usually only find their bones as fossils (and most times, only a few of their bones). Artists use what bones have been found, knowledge about living animals, and some imagination to come up with drawings like these. See if you can pronounce these dinosaur names:

Dilophosaurus (die-LOF-o-SWAR-us), meaning “two-crested lizard.”
Styracosaurus (sty-RAK-o-SAWR-us), meaning “spiked lizard.”
Triceratops (tri-SER-a-tops), meaning “three-horned face.”
Megalosaurus (MEG-a-lo-SAWR-us), meaning “big lizard.”
Iguanodon (i-GWAHN-o-don), meaning “iguana tooth.”
Ceratosaurus (ser-ah-toe-SAWR-us), meaning “horned lizard.”
Deinonychus (die-NON-i-kus), meaning “terrible claws.”
Velociraptor (vee-LOHS-i-RAP-tor), meaning “swift robber.”
Ultrasaurus (UHL-tra-SAWR-us), was so nicknamed because of its enormous size.
Seismosaurus (SEIS-mo-SAWR-us), meaning “earthquake lizard.”

Did you know there are hundreds of dinosaur names? However, there were not hundreds of types of dinosaurs. There were a number of similar ones that should be grouped into categories known by what the Bible describes as “kinds.” Does that sound a little confusing? Well, this book will help to explain this and a lot of other things about dinosaurs you may not know.

(Pictures with names):


Before we begin, I don’t want you to miss out on knowing what my very favorite dinosaur is! In fact, I think he deserves this whole page to himself! It is the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex (ti-RAN-oh-SAWR-us-rex), meaning “tyrant lizard king.” I’ll let you in on a secret – I love T-rex because I like his teeth! I use teeth to teach kids and parents some very interesting things about dinosaurs – things that you may not have heard or really understood before. But it is very important to understand the truth about dinosaurs!


T-rex fossils are found in Canada and the western United States.
The first documented T-rex fossil was discovered in 1902 by Barnum Brown.
Scientists think T-rex skeletons were made up of close to 200 bones.
T-rex had around 60 teeth, which ranged in size based on their placement in the jaw of the skull.

With a strong tail extended for balance, an adult T-rex could be a little over 40 feet in length, 12-13 feet tall at the hips, and weigh between 5 and 7 tons. T-rex’s jagged teeth could be up to 9 inches long, and like sharks, the T-rex was able to replace teeth when one was lost.

What’s in a name? Remember that the T-rex name means “tyrant lizard king.” But secular scientists are still wondering whether T-rexes were active hunters or clever scavengers, or a combination of both. However, creation scientists are able to explain the evidence in a different way using the biblical account of history, as we will soon learn.


The word “fossil” is from the Latin word meaning “dug up.” Scientists often make assumptions about dinosaurs based on a few fossilized bones, bone fragments, or other fossil remains, impressions, etc.
Only a few thousand dinosaur skeletons have been discovered.
The vast majority of fossils discovered are marine invertebrates (creatures that don’t have backbones like clams).

I’m sure you have lots of questions about dinosaurs. I believe I can answer many of those questions for you because dinosaurs are not a mystery at all. I know someone who was there when dinosaurs came into existence, and was also there when they seemed to disappear from the earth. In fact, this “someone” has written a book for us that gives a detailed account of the history of the universe. He tells us when the earth began, as well as when all the living creatures and the first humans appeared.

Now, you may be asking “Who is this someone you say was there to see the dinosaurs?” He is the Creator of all things. He knows everything because He is all powerful and has always been around. And this Creator had a book written for us to give us the details of how time began, and how the universe and all life came into existence. This book also tells us who we are, where we came from, and why we exist. It also gives us information on what is going to happen in the future! There is no other book like this on earth. It is unique, and it is called…the Bible.

When you understand the Bible, you will understand more about dinosaurs. The Bible helps us to answer questions about dinosaurs and about the world around us today.

Bigger. Among the most widely known type of dinosaurs, the sauropods (“lizard foot”) are some of the largest creatures to ever walk the earth. Many of these dinosaurs are known by only a few pieces of bone fragments, and debate continues on just which dinosaur was the largest ever. As discoveries continue, more will be known about these massive giants. Sauroposeidon (“earthquake god lizard”) was considered the largest dinosaur ever to live, until the discovery of Argentinosaurus (“silver lizard”). Though only a few bones of each creature have been found, many scientists estimate that Argentinosaurus was larger, though Sauroposeidon may have been taller.

Smaller. Compsognathus (“elegant jaw”) is among the smallest dinosaurs discovered. A little bigger than a chicken, this dinosaur weighed around 6 pounds. Some scientists have found smaller creatures, like Microraptors, which they try to use to prove dinosaurs were the evolutionary ancestor of birds – real science and the Bible disprove this idea. Archaeopteryx (“ancient wing”) is another example of a creature once thought to prove this link, but that idea has now been proven false.

Did you know that the Bible is really a collection of books written by people specially inspired by God, the Creator, to write down exactly what God wanted us to know? The Bible tells us more about who God is and why we can always trust Him to tell us the truth:

The God of the Bible is the true God: “But the LORD [is] the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King…” (Jeremiah 10:10).
The God of the Bible is infinite – He is all knowing, all powerful: “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” (Psalm 147:5).
The God of the Bible lives forever – He lives in eternity – He had no beginning and has no end: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever…” (1 Timothy 1:17).
The God of the Bible is the only true God – other gods people claim to have are false gods: “Therefore You are great, O LORD GOD. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides…” (2 Samuel 7:22).
The God of the Bible is all wise and all knowing: “…in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3).
Wow! What an awesome God.

The Only One.

Only God is a witness to the entire history of the world, including the history of dinosaurs. During the creation week, God created dinosaurs and flying reptiles. Pterosaur (“winged lizard”) like this one, could have wing spans of 30 feet. Stegosaurus (“roof lizard”) is easy to recognize with two rows of large plates running along its arched back, and its multi-spiked tail. Corythosaurus (“helmet lizard”) is a great example of dinosaurs with bony crests on their heads. Scientists think these crests were used in making sounds.

Does any human being (including any scientist) know everything? Has any human being always existed? The answer to both questions is, of course, NO. However, who is the only one who knows everything? Who is the only one who has always been there? The answer to both of these questions is, “the Creator God of the Bible.”

True History!

I call the Bible “The History Book of the Universe.” This is because it is a book that tells us how time and the universe began. And in the very first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, we are given a detailed account of not only how God created everything to begin with, but also major events of history that happened after creation.

You might be saying, “Wait a minute, haven’t scientists already found out lots of things about dinosaurs – that they lived millions of years before people and that they lived during the dinosaur age 200 million to 65 million years ago, and then they became extinct?”

Well, not all scientists say that! And though the majority of people today might believe that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, the majority are wrong on this. And more and more people are now finding out the truth because they listen to and understand God’s Word!

My review: My boys really enjoy this book! It is chock-ful of information, and has lots of great pictures to boot! This book would be a great addition to your budding anthropologist's library!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Sydney's DC Discovery

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Sydney’s DC Discovery (Camp Club Girls #2)

Barbour Books (January 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart of Barbour Books for sending me a review copy.***


Jean Fischer has been writing for children for nearly three decades, and has served as an editor with Golden Books. She has written with Thomas Kinkade, John MacArthur, and “Adventures in Odyssey,” and is one of the authors for Barbour’s Camp Club Girls series. A nature lover, Jean lives in Racine, Wisconsin.

Visit the author's website.
Visit the Camp Club Girl's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $5.97
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (January 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602602689
ISBN-13: 978-1602602687



Splaaaashhh! Whoosh!

“Watch out!” someone called near Sydney’s ear.

But it was too late. The pent up explosion of the water landed square against Sydney’s back, knocking her to the ground.

Dazed, she rolled onto her back and looked up into the hot summer sky. The water swirled around her whole body. From a distance she heard happy shouting and water gushing onto the street.

A fireman’s face appeared above her. “Are you okay, little girl?”

Little girl? Little girl! I’m twelve years old! I’m not a little girl, Mister.

The indignation snapped Sydney out of her dazed condition. She looked up and saw that two firemen were now looking at her anxiously. Carefully they helped her to her feet.

“Are you okay, little girl?” She looked in the fireman’s face. He seemed so worried that her irritation melted.

Sydney looked down at her soaking gray tank top and shorts. “Yes, sir, I’m fine,” she said. “Thank you,” she added, remembering her manners.

Sydney Lincoln had been talking to one of her neighborhood friends. She hadn’t even noticed the firemen at the fire hydrant behind her. And she sure hadn’t realized she was in the direct line of the nozzle the men were releasing.

Still out of breath from the shock of the water, Sydney dropped onto the curb in front of her house. She tore off her running shoes and socks, and stuck her bare feet into the gutter. She watched as the water from the hydrant down the street shot into the air and out the nozzle. The neighborhood kids laughed and splashed in its flow.

As Sydney’s clothes began to dry in the torrid sun, the water rushed along the curb like a river. It streamed between Sydney’s toes and sent goose bumps creeping up to her knees.

Sydney lived in the middle of a row of brick houses. The two-story tall houses were connected so they looked like one long building. The only windows were in the front and the back. The houses were close to the street, and each had a narrow front porch with three steps leading to a tiny front yard and the sidewalk.

The screen door on Sydney’s house swung open, and her mom stepped outside. “Sydney, have you seen your Aunt Dee yet?” Her curly, black hair was pulled back with a blue band to keep it off of her face.

“No, Mom,” Sydney answered. “I ran past the Metro station looking for her, but she wasn’t there.”

“Well, when she gets here, you two come inside. Dinner’s ready.”

Sydney dipped her fingers into the water and splashed some onto her long, thin arms.

“Don’t you want to come in by the air conditioning?” Her mother fanned herself with a magazine. “Aren’t you hot in the sunshine?”

“No, mom,” Sydney answered. She didn’t think it was necessary to tell her mom about her little brush with the explosion of water.

The cell phone in the pocket of her pink shorts buzzed. Sydney took it out and found a text message from one of her best friends, Elizabeth Anderson. It said: Almost packed.

Sydney tapped a reply on her keypad: Can’t w8 til u get here.

Sydney and Elizabeth had met at Discovery Lake Camp, and although Elizabeth lived in Texas, they talked every day. Four other girls had been with Sydney and Elizabeth in Cabin 12B. They were Bailey Chang, Alexis Howell, McKenzie Phillips, and Kate Oliver. When camp ended, Kate set up a web site so the girls could stay in touch. It was password protected, so it was like their own secret cabin in cyberspace. They’d all bought web cams with baby-sitting money, chore payments, and allowances so they could see each other and talk online. The Camp Club Girls—as they liked to be called—made web cam calls, sent IMs, and frequently met in their own private chat rooms.

Sydney continued typing her message: Will pic u up @ d aport @ 4 2MORO.

“Sydney, I really wish you’d come inside.” Sydney’s mother crossed her arms.

“Okay, in a few minutes, Mother!” Sydney said, without looking up.

The screen door slammed shut.

This was the worst heat wave Washington D.C. had seen in twenty-five years. Everyone had air conditioners blasting. The energy load was way too much, and the night before, the power had gone out. Sydney hated being in total darkness. She was relieved that today seemed normal.

Pack shorts, she typed. Really hot here!

While she sat texting, Sydney heard the thump thump thump of music getting closer and closer. A green jeep raced around the corner, and the booming bass from its stereo echoed inside Sydney’s chest. In the passenger seat, Aunt Dee held on to her tan park ranger hat to keep it from flying off of her head. The jeep screeched to a halt in front of Sydney’s house, and her aunt hopped out.

“Thanks for the ride, Ben,” she yelled over the music. “See you tomorrow.”

The young driver waved and drove off.

Gotta go, Liz, Sydney wrote. Ant D’s home.

Sydney stood and wiped her feet on the grass. “You’re late again,” she said. “Mom’s mad.”

“I know,” Aunt Dee apologized. “There was trouble at the Wall.” She took off her ranger hat and perched it on Sydney’s head. Aunt Dee always blamed her lateness on her job at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. Sydney didn’t understand how she could be so enthusiastic about a long, black wall with a bunch of names carved onto it.

“So what was the trouble?” Sydney wondered.

“I’ll tell you at dinner,” said Aunt Dee. She linked her arm through Sydney’s. “It’s hot out here, girlfriend. Let’s go inside.”

By the time Sydney washed and sat at her place at the table, Mom and Aunt Dee were already eating. Sydney had learned at camp to pray before every meal. So, she bowed her head and said out loud, “Dear Lord, Make us truly grateful for this meal and for all the blessings of this day.” She noticed that her mom and Aunt Dee stopped eating and bowed their heads, too. “And please keep Dad safe,” she said. Sydney always added a blessing for her dad who was serving in the military overseas.

“Amen!” Mom and Aunt Dee chimed.

Sydney poured iced tea into her tall glass and scooped pasta salad onto her plate. “So, what happened at the Wall?” she asked, reaching for a piece of French bread.

“Someone spray painted the sidewalk last night,” Aunt Dee replied. “Graffiti.”

Sydney’s mom got that look on her face—the one where her forehead turned into wrinkled plastic wrap. “You mean vandalism,” she said. “I think it’s just terrible what kids do these days—”

“How do you know it was kids?” Sydney interrupted. Her mouth was full of creamy macaroni. “Kids aren’t the only ones who do bad stuff.”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” said Aunt Dee.

“Most times it is,” her mom argued. “Just look around our neighborhood,” She waved her hand toward the kitchen window. “Vandalism everywhere! Who do you think did all that? Not the adults. The kids don’t care about our community. Do they care that this neighborhood used to be a military camp to help slaves that escaped from the South? No! They just want to mess up the nice things that good folks worked so hard to build.” Sydney’s mother sighed and took a long drink of her iced tea.

Mrs. Lincoln worked at the local historical society, and she was very protective of the neighborhood and its landmarks. She liked to talk about how, in the old days, kids had manners and didn’t do anything wrong. Sydney hated it that her mom blamed everything on the kids in the neighborhood.

“There are good kids, too,” Sydney argued. “You don’t see my friends and me running around spray painting everything. Give us some credit!” She looked at her plate and pushed the rest of her pasta salad into a neat little pile. “We care what happens.”

“We don’t know who did it,” said Aunt Dee, trying to stop the argument. “Someone painted GO 64 in front of panel 30W—in orange paint. Ben and some other volunteers scrubbed it this morning. They’ll work on it again tonight when the air cools off some. They’re having a hard time cleaning it. Pass the bread, please.”

“What does GO 64 mean?” Sydney asked, handing her the basket of bread.

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” Aunt Dee answered. “We’re wondering if the number 64 is a clue to who did it. Ben said that in some rap music, 64 means a 1964 Chevrolet Impala. Another volunteer plays chess and said 64 is the number of squares on a chessboard. We don’t know what it means.”

“Maybe it’s Interstate 64,” Sydney’s mom suggested. “There’s construction on that freeway and plenty of orange construction cones. Maybe the orange paint is to protest all that.”

“But if it’s about the freeway, or a car, or a chessboard, why would they complain by painting graffiti at the Vietnam Wall? Besides, Interstate 64 is in Virginia,” Aunt Dee said.

“Yes, but there’s some military bases out that way,” Mother said. Then she added, “It’s probably just kids.”

The air conditioning kicked in again, and a cool draft shot from the air vent making the kitchen curtains flutter.

“The Wall’s lighted at night,” Sydney said. “And the Park Police keep an eye on all the monuments. So, why didn’t anyone see who did it?”

“The lights were out,” Aunt Dee reminded her. “The whole city went dark for a while, and the Park Police were busy with that. That’s when it happened, I’m sure. Anyway, it’s a mess, and we have to clean it up fast. The TV stations are already making a big deal out of it.” She dipped her knife into the butter container and slathered butter onto her French bread. “I had such an awful day at work. Everybody blamed everyone else for letting it happen. Like we would let it happen! People don’t know how hard the Park Service works—“

“May I be excused,” Sydney asked, swallowing her last bite of pasta.

“You may,” her mother answered.

Sydney put her dishes into the dishwasher. Then she went upstairs to her room.

The computer on Sydney’s desk was on, and her screensaver cast an eerie blue glow on her yellow bedroom walls. Syd’s bedroom had no windows, so it was always dark. That was the trouble with living in a row house. If your room was in the middle of the house, you had no windows. She flipped the switch on her desk light and tapped the spacebar on the computer. The monitor lit up, and Sydney noticed that McKenzie Phillips was online. She sent her an IM: Talk to me?

The phone icon on the computer screen jiggled back and forth. Sydney clicked on it, and McKenzie’s freckled face appeared. She was sitting at the work island in her family’s kitchen. “What’s up?” she asked.

Sydney turned on her web cam. “Not much,” she said. “I just finished dinner.”

“Me, too,” McKenzie replied. “Well, almost.” She held a slice of cheese pizza in front of her face so Sydney could see it. “We ate early because Dad and Evan have to drive some cattle to pasture. Then they want to practice for the rodeo this weekend.” She pointed to the blue baseball cap on her head. Its yellow letters said: Sulfur Springs Rodeo.

“I didn’t want to hang out downstairs,” Sydney told her. “Someone spray painted graffiti by the Vietnam Wall last night, and Mom blamed it on kids again.”

McKenzie took a bite out of her pizza. “I saw it on the news. Why did she blame it on kids? I mean, anyone could have done it.”

“She blames everything on kids,” Sydney answered. “I think it’s because a lot of the kids around here get into trouble. I try to tell her that we’re not all like that, but she doesn’t listen. Lately she doesn’t listen to anything I say.”

“My mom’s like that, too,” McKenzie said. “Nothing I do is ever right.” Her face lit up. “Hey, the news said it was orange paint, right?”

“Yeah,” Sydney said, fidgeting with her cornrows. “Orange graffiti that said GO 64. So what?”

“So, maybe it’s some crazy nutcase with Agent Orange.”

“Agent who?” Sydney asked.

“Agent Orange!” said McKenzie. “Agent Orange was a chemical they used in Vietnam. I read about it in school. It made some Vietnam soldiers really sick and some even died. So maybe it wasn’t a kid who wrote it. Maybe it’s a guy who got Agent Orange, who’s mad at the government, and wants to get even. By the way, I can’t see you well.”

“You think too much,” Sydney answered. She pulled her desk light closer to her computer and bent it toward her face. “They’re trying to figure out what GO 64 means. My aunt and mom think it could be about some sort of car, or highway, or maybe even a chessboard—“

“A chessboard!” McKenzie screeched. “A person who plays chess won’t spray paint a national monument.”

“I know,” Sydney said. “Some gang member probably wrote it. Anyhow, I don’t care. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

“I can see you fine now,” McKenzie said, changing the subject. “So, when is Elizabeth coming?”

“She and her Uncle Dan are flying in from Texas tomorrow,” Sydney answered. “Aunt Dee and I are going pick them up at the airport at four. We’ll take her uncle to his hotel, and then Elizabeth will come here to stay with us.”

“Can Elizabeth’s Uncle Dan get around all by himself?” McKenzie asked. She twisted a strand of her shoulder-length hair around her fingers. “I mean, he’s in a wheelchair and everything.”

“As far as I know, he can,” Sydney answered. “Elizabeth said he plays wheelchair basketball and competes in wheelchair races, so I suppose he gets around just fine by himself. I’m sure once he gets to the hotel, his Vietnam buddies will help him out if he needs help.”

McKenzie reached for a gallon milk container on the kitchen counter. She poured herself a glass. “Well, at least you and Elizabeth don’t have to hang around with him the whole time. He’ll be busy with his reunion stuff, right?”

“Right,” Sydney agreed. “We’ll see him Monday at the Vietnam Wall. Aunt Dee wants to give him the tour, and she thinks that Elizabeth and I should be there. Otherwise, we’re on our own.” Sydney heard strange sounds coming from her computer speakers. “Is that mooing?” she asked.

“Can you hear it?” said McKenzie. “That’s Olivia, our old milk cow. About this time every day, she wanders up to the kitchen window and talks to us. I’ll move the camera, and you can see her.”

McKenzie’s face disappeared from the screen. Sydney watched her friend’s bare feet move across the kitchen floor as she carried the web cam to the window. Then a big, black-and-white cow head appeared. Olivia stood chewing her cud and looking at Sydney with huge, brown eyes.

“Earth to Mac! Earth to Mac!” Sydney called into her computer’s microphone. “Come back Mac!”

Sydney watched McKenzie’s bare feet walk back to the computer. Then her face showed up on the screen.

“Isn’t Olivia awesome?” she said. “You really should come to Montana, Syd. We have tons of animals. I know you’d love it, and we could ride horses and hike, just like we did at camp.”

“Maybe I will some day,” Sydney replied. “But, right now, I’m signing off. I want to clean up my room before Elizabeth gets here from Texas. All of my junk is piled on the other bed. If I don’t move it she won’t have a place to sleep.”

“Okay then,” McKenzie said. “I’ll sign off, too—and eat more pizza.” She picked up the gooey slice from her plate and took another bite. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“See ya,” Sydney answered, switching off her web cam.

Everything in her room looked neat except for the other twin bed. It was hardly ever used, so that was where Sydney stored most of her stuff. It held boxes filled with colorful papers and art materials, magazines, piles of clothes, posters she planned to put up in her room. Sydney had so much stuff stored there that she didn’t know what to do with it all. Under my bed, I guess, she thought.

Before long, the bed was cleaned. Sydney changed the sheets. Then she went to her closet and pulled out a new black and tan bedspread that matched her own. She threw it on top of the bed and tucked it neatly around the pillow.

“Sydney?” Aunt Dee stood in the doorway. She held a long, white envelope. “This came for you.”

The letter was from Elizabeth. Sydney tore open the flap and found a note taped to an information sheet.

Uncle Dan wanted me to send you this so your mom can keep track of him. Just in case of an emergency. It’s his reunion schedule.

Sydney Lincoln read the heading on the sheet of paper. It said, “Annual Reunion—64th Transportation Company, Vietnam.”

My review: Another excellent book for young female readers! I like the way that information about the city is interwoven so that the reader learns more about history without this being a specifically history text. I highly recommend this series as a Reading Specialist!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Camp Club Girls and the Mystery at Discovery Lake

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Camp Club Girls & the Mystery at Discovery Lake

Barbour Books (January 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart of Barbour Books for sending me a review copy.***


Renae Brumbaugh lives in Texas with her pastor husband, two noisy children, and two dogs. She's authored four books in Barbour’s Camp Club Girls’ series, and Morning Coffee with James (Chalice Press), and has contributed to several anthologies. Her humor column and articles have appeared in publications across the country.

Visit the Camp Club Girl's website.
Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $5.97
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (January 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602602670
ISBN-13: 978-1602602670


Chapter One

“Shhhhhhh!” Sydney told Bailey. “What was that noise?”

“What noise?” asked Bailey.

“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” commanded her new friend.

The two listened with all their focused energy. Then, there it was. Footsteps. Large, heavy footsteps.

The girls stood in terrified uncertainty.


Sydney gasped as the eerie shriek filled the air.

Yahahoho ho ho!

Bailey trembled uncontrollably as the crazy, unworldly laugh followed.

“Run!” Sydney screamed. The two dashed as fast as their legs could carry them, back toward the camp. Sydney stopped twice, waiting for Bailey’s shorter legs to catch up.


Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth sat in the middle of the dusty road, trying to cram her underwear back into her suitcase before anyone saw. I thought wheels were supposed to make a suitcase easier, she thought. Instead, the rolling blue luggage had tipped over three times before it finally popped open, leaving her belongings strewn in the street.

Suddenly, she was nearly barreled over by two girls running frantically. “Run for your life!” the smaller one cried. “It’s after us!”

“Whoa, calm down,” Elizabeth focused on the terrified girls.

The taller one panted. “Something’s back there!”

Elizabeth looked toward the golf course but saw nothing. She noticed that the smaller girl seemed to struggle for air, and her protective instincts took over. “Calm down. You’ll be okay.”

“Need. . .inhaler,” gasped the girl.

Elizabeth sprang into action, digging through the girl’s backpack until she found a small blue inhaler. Then she helped hold it steady while the slight girl gasped in the medication. The taller girl kept looking toward the miniature golf course they’d just left. “Sorry,” the small girl whispered. “I’m supposed to keep that in my pocket, but I got so excited I forgot.”

“I’m Elizabeth. Why don’t you tell me what happened.”

“I’m Bailey,” said the short, dark-haired girl. “Bailey Chang.”

“And I’m Sydney Lincoln,” said the tall, dark-skinned girl with beaded braids. “We were at the golf course, and. . .and. . .”

“And something came after us!” exclaimed Bailey.

Elizabeth looked skeptical as she tucked a strand of long blond hair into the clip at the base of her neck.

“Is this your first year here? This is my third year here, and the most dangerous thing I’ve seen is a skunk.”

The girls giggled but didn’t look convinced. “Come with us. We’ll show you.” Bailey pulled Elizabeth back toward the golf course.

“I thought you were afraid of whatever it was! Why do you want to go back there?” Elizabeth asked.

The young girl stood to her full height. “Because I am going to be a professional golfer. And I’m not going to let whatever that was bully me. I plan to practice my golf strokes while I’m here.”

“Will you tell me exactly what happened?” Elizabeth asked Sydney.

Sydney looked each girl in the eye and spoke slowly. “Something or someone is in the woods by the golf course. And it wasn’t a friendly.” She paused for dramatic effect. “And. . .it came after us.”


Kate Oliver leaned back on her bed and smiled. Yes! I got the bed by the window! she thought. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get good reception for my laptop and cell phone. She tucked a strand of blond hair behind her ear. It was too short to stay there, and just long enough to drive her crazy.

Bam! The cabin’s outer door slammed, and Kate heard voices. Pushing her black-framed glasses up on her nose, she sat up. Two girls entered the room, giggling and talking.

“I can’t believe I’m finally here! This is so cool. And look at this cute little dorm room! It’s just like the cabin in The Parent Trap! Oh, hello!” The fun-looking brunette with piercing blue eyes greeted Kate. “I’m Alex Howell. Alexis, really, but nobody calls me that except my mother. I am so excited! This will be the best two weeks ever!”

Kate smiled and reached to shake the girl’s hand. “Kate Oliver,” she said. “Welcome to cabin 12B.” She looked at the other girl.

The girl’s freckles matched her curly auburn hair, and she offered a friendly smile. “Hi there. I’m McKenzie Phillips.”


The two girls looked at Elizabeth stubbornly, as if needing to prove their story to her. Hearing another bus pull up, Elizabeth remembered her belongings, which were still lying in the middle of the road.

“I’ll tell you what. You help me get this awful suitcase to cabin 12B, and then I’ll walk to the golf course with you. Deal?”

Bailey’s mouth dropped open, and Sydney’s eyes widened.

“You’re in cabin 12B?” asked Sydney.

“That’s our cabin!” exclaimed Bailey.

Now it was Elizabeth’s turn to be surprised. “You’re kidding! Wow. It is a small world. Okay, roomies, help me hide my underwear before the entire camp sees, and we’ll be on our way.”

The girls gathered the strewn articles of clothing. Bailey held up one particular article of clothing and giggled. “Tinkerbell? Seriously, you have Tinkerbell on your . . .”

Elizabeth snatched the unmentionables from Bailey, crammed them in her suitcase, and snapped it shut. “Not another word, shorty!” Elizabeth scolded, but with a twinkle in her eye. The three girls chattered all the way to cabin 12B. As they approached the cabin, the two younger girls pulled their luggage out from behind some bushes.

“We sat together on the bus from the airport, and we both wanted to see the golf course before we did anything else. So we stowed our suitcases here until we got back,” explained Sydney.

Elizabeth laughed. With these two as roommates, this year’s camp experience would be far from dull.

The girls entered the cabin and located room B to the right. Three girls were already there, smiling and laughing.

“Hello, I’m Elizabeth. I guess we’ll be roommates!” She tossed her things on the lower bunk closest to the door, and Sydney placed her things on the bunk above that. Bailey took the top bunk next to Sydney. After an awkward pause, McKenzie stepped forward.

“I’m McKenzie Phillips,” she said. “I’m thirteen, and I’m from White Sulphur Springs, Montana.”

Alex bounced forward. “I’m Alexis Howell, Alex for short. I’m twelve, and I’m from Sacramento.”

“Sydney. Twelve. Washington, D.C.”

“Oh, that is so cool. Do you know the president?” asked Bailey, and everyone laughed. “I’m Bailey Chang. I’m nine, and I’m from Peoria, Illinois. And just so you’ll all know, I plan to be the next Tiger Woods. I’ll be glad to sign autographs, if you want. They’ll be worth money some day.”

Elizabeth stepped forward. “I’ll take one, Bailey. I’ll sell it and use the money for college. I’m Elizabeth Anderson, fourteen, from Amarillo, Texas.”

“Well, I guess that leaves me,” said Kate. “Kate Oliver, eleven, Philadelphia.”

Alexis jumped up and down. “Oh, this will be so much fun! Kate brought her laptop with her. I have the coolest roommates ever!”

Everyone’s attention turned to Kate’s bed, which was covered with a laptop and several small gadgets. “What is all that stuff?” asked Sydney. The girls gathered around Kate’s bed and watched her pull items out of a black backpack.

“It’s like a magician’s bag. It has no bottom,” mused McKenzie.

Kate laughed. “My dad teaches robotics at Penn State, so he’s always bringing home little devices to test out. Some of them are really helpful. Some of them are just fun to play with.”

One by one, she pulled the oddly shaped gadgets out of her bag, describing the functions of each.

“This is my cell phone. It can take pictures and short video clips, has a GPS tracker, a satellite map, Internet access, a motion sensor, a voice recorder, and about a zillion other things!” Aiming it at the others, she said, “Say cheese!”

The other girls leaned together and smiled. “Cheeeeeeeeeeeeese!”

Kate saved the picture, then passed the phone to the others and dug through her backpack again. “This digital recorder can record conversations up to thirty feet away.”

Sydney squinted her eyes. “You’re kidding! That thing is the size of a contact lens! Let me see!” Kate handed her the recorder and kept digging.

“This is a reader,” she continued, holding up a small penlike device.

“A what?” asked McKenzie.

“A reader. You run it across words on a page, and it records them to memory. Like a small scanner.”

“That is so cool! I had no idea stuff like this existed!” McKenzie examined the reader.

“Here, I have my Bible. Will you show us how the reader works?” Elizabeth grabbed a worn Bible from her bag and handed it to Kate.

“Sure. You turn it on by pressing this button, and. . .” She ran the pen over a page in Psalms.

Elizabeth giggled. “I’ve heard of hiding God’s Word in your heart, but never in your pen!”

The gadget girl suddenly stopped her display to announce, “Hey, I’m starved. Is anybody else hungry?”

“It’s almost dinnertime,” announced Elizabeth. “But first, we have some business to take care of at the golf course.”

The girls listened as Sydney and Bailey described their experience.

“Whoa, cool!” exclaimed Alex. “We have a mystery on our hands! Why don’t we go right now and check it out?”

“Why don’t we eat first?” called out Kate. “Starving girl here, remember?” The others laughed at the petite girl whose stomach was growling loudly.

Since it was almost dinnertime, the group decided to head to the dining hall first. Bailey led the way, taking over as tour guide.

“Wait for me,” called Alex. “I need to grab my lip gloss!” She shoved strawberry Lip Smackers into her pocket.

The group wandered through the camp, with Bailey pointing out different sites. Suddenly, she stopped. “Well, guys, I hate to tell you this. . .but I have no idea how to get to the dining hall from here.”

“It’s this way,” stated Elizabeth. “You’ll get your bearings. My first year here, it took me the whole time before I could find my way around. But I get lost in a closet.”

McKenzie spoke up. “Come on, girls, let’s go. Remember, Kate’s about to starve. We wouldn’t want her to waste away to nothing.”

Everyone laughed at Kate, who pretended to be nearly fainting. “I need sustenance, and I need it now!”

The group arrived at the dining hall with seven minutes to spare. They stood near the front of the line, and Elizabeth said, “Get ready for a long meal. The camp director will explain all the camp rules, introduce the counselors, and tell us more than we want to know about Camp Discovery Lake.”

“Terrific.” Bailey sighed. “I wanted to visit the golf course before dark.”

“Don’t worry,” said Alex. “After the story you and Sydney told, I think we all want to find out what’s down there.”

“Really?” Bailey said. “You’ll all come?”

“You bet!” said McKenzie. “The girls of cabin 12B stick together!”


The sun was dipping behind the horizon by the time the girls left the dining hall.

“Hooray! We can finally go to the golf course!” Bailey called.

“We’d better hurry. It’s getting dark,” said Elizabeth.

“Yeah, and after the story you and Sydney told, I certainly don’t want to be there after dark,” added Kate.

The girls scurried while chattering about the different camp activities they wanted to try. Before they knew it, the sun was gone and they could barely see the road. “Why is the golf course so far away from the main camp?” asked Alex nervously.

Sydney laughed. “So nobody will get hit on the head with a stray golf ball!”

Suddenly, a voice called out from the woods.

“Who? Who? Who?”

“What was that?” whispered Bailey.

“Who?” came the voice again.

McKenzie giggled. “You city girls don’t know much about the country, do you? That was an owl!”

The others burst into laughter as the voice called again, “Who?”

“I’m Sydney! Who are you?” Sydney shouted, and the laughter continued.

“It sure does get dark here, doesn’t it?” said Kate. “It never gets this dark in the city.”

“Are we close to the golf course?” asked Alex.

“It doesn’t seem nearly as far in the daytime,” Elizabeth told her.

They continued, each trying to seem brave. The trees that had seemed friendly and protecting in the daytime now loomed like angry giants. The girls’ steps became slower and slower as they struggled to see where they were stepping.

Finally, Kate stopped and looked at the sky through the trees. “Look, everybody! It’s the Big Dipper!” The other five girls looked to where she pointed.

“Wow, the sky is beautiful. It’s so dark, and the stars are so bright,” whispered Sydney.

“The stars are never this bright in Sacramento,” Alex commented. “The city lights are brighter. Hey, this reminds me of an episode of Charlie’s Angels, where the Angels’ car broke down in the middle of nowhere, and they had to use the stars to find their way home.”

The girls were so focused on the sky that they didn’t notice the image moving toward them. Kate was the first to lower her eyes, and she blinked in confusion. Adjusting her eyeglasses, she whispered, “Uh, guys?”

The girls continued pointing out the brightest stars.

Kate tried to make her voice louder, but terror kept it to a soft squeak. “G–g–guys?” The image moved closer, but still, no one heard her. Finally, Kate grabbed Sydney’s sleeve. “Wh–wh–what is that?” she squeaked.

Sydney looked. “Oh, my word! What in the world is that?”

The girls saw a white stripe in the road, moving slowly, steadily toward them. They were frozen, until Elizabeth yelled, “Skunk!”

Camp Discovery Lake resounded with shrieks and squeals as the girls ran back toward the cabins. McKenzie led the way with Alex close on her heels.

The girls didn’t slow down until they had burst through the door of cabin 12B. Falling onto the beds, they panted, then soon began giggling.

“Can you believe it? A skunk! We were scared of a little bitty skunk!” howled McKenzie.

“I don’t know about you, McKenzie, but I wasn’t about to smell like Pepe Le Pew out there!” retorted Alex, and the girls laughed even harder.

“Hey, Sydney, is that what scared you today? Some forest creature?”

Sydney and Bailey stopped giggling and looked at one another. “No,” they replied.

“Whatever we heard was not small,” said Bailey. “And it wasn’t friendly.”

“And it definitely came after us,” added Sydney.

My review: I really enjoyed this book, and think that young girls would find it very entertaining as well! I plan on passing it on to my niece, who is almost 10, soon! I highly recommend it!