________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 22. . . .February 11, 2011.


Trouble at Impact Lake. (The Archaeolojesters, Book 3).

Andreas Oertel.
Montréal, PQ: Lobster Press, 2011.
185 pp., pbk, $10.95.
ISBN 978-1-926909-86-8.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Mary Thomas.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



I twisted my light and looked at the ground where the boat rested against the gravel. Four giant black claws appeared by my head, near the boat railing.

"Hurry!" I barked. "Climb onto the bottom of the seats. We need to weigh the boat down so he can't flip us." I was pretty sure he could upright the boat on its own, but with the added weight of the three people pinning it down, we stood a chance.

Rachel had the most room to manoeuvre and she was the first to announce, "I'm in."

The back of the boat my end of the boat suddenly rose in the air half a foot before thumping to the ground again. The bear growled, unsure how to open his giant tin can of tasty humans.

"Faster, you guys!" Rachel yelled. "He's getting better at it!"

Frantically, I twisted and turned to wedge myself in the space between the bottom of the rear seat and floor of the boat. I had almost succeeded when the boat shuddered violently, knocking me to the ground.

"I'm in too," Eric said.

I kicked and wriggled my way back into the void. Finally, after countless scratches and bumps, I was in too.

But the bear didn't give up. We could hear his rear legs dig into the beach gravel as he prepared for another attempt to flip the boat. Sure enough, our metal shelter lifted, hung in the air for several seconds, and then crunched to the ground.

"Grab your packs!" Rachel yelled. "The more weight, the better."

I looked between Eric's folded legs and saw that Rachel was hugging her backpack close to her body. "Hang on," I cried, "he's going to try again."

The boat shifted a bit, but the bear still wasn't able to lift us. Thank goodness.

"Yes," Eric hissed. "We're too heavy for him now."

"Or," I said, "maybe he's getting tired. Or bored."

The three 'jesters', Cody, Eric, and Rachel, have been having themselves quite a summer! First they manufacture such a convincing Egyptian clay tablet that they have some of the most eminent scholars in the world convinced that the ancient Egyptians had travelled as far as southern Manitoba (The Archeolojesters). That netted them a $50,000 prize and a bunch of hours of community service for the nuisance they had caused. It also got them a trip to Egypt where they did some real time travelling (The Pillar of Time). Now they're back in Sultana, Manitoba, and they just happen to be at Cody's father's gas station when a government research van pulling a trailer loaded with a couple of ATVs and a lot of diving equipment pulls in.

     The bozos who are with the van are not only rude but dumb. In spite of their saying that they are going to be diving for the remains of planes lost in Impact Lake in conjunction with the war time BCATP base located on the shore of the lake, Cody manages to trick them into revealing that they don't know the difference between the floatplanes used at the base (none of which crashed) and British Harrier jets (which did not exist in the 1940s). Cody and Eric hop on their bikes, follow the van to the lake, and start another investigation involving a mad trapper (of mice), a black bear with a weakness for marshmallows, and a hunt for lost diamonds. The end result is a recommendation by the third member of the government research party that the base be turned into a permanent historic site, a real tourist attraction (as opposed to the temporary tourism peak resulting from the fake Egyptian tablet) which may rescue Sultana from its economic doldrums.

     So it's a little far fetched? Who cares! The three kids with their winning combination of physical derring do and savvy internet research manage a plausible line of reasoning that takes them to a solution to the mystery while involving them, and the reader, in an exciting adventure. This is a book which will appeal to both boys and girls and should keep the pages flipping to the very end where readers get a very strong promise of yet another adventure to come. As I said, it's been quite a summer! The first book was a brilliant innovation, the second rather more standard fantasy, the third an updated Hardy Boys adventure. What can we expect from number four? The sky's the limit!

Highly Recommended.

Mary Thomas works at an elementary school in Winnipeg, MB, and, while she remembers fun summers from her youth, few of them piled excitement on excitement as this one has for the Archeolojesters.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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