CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 13 . . . . February 28, 2003
Then Jason meets Charlotte and Squid, a brother and sister duo who are staying next door with their gran. Gran tells the children a pretty far-fetched tale about great-uncle Joseph’s claiming to have been transported to different times in his life by the bugle. Of course, they all agree that this could never truly have happened...until Jason, Charlotte and Squid find themselves in medieval Germany! Here Jason and his magic bugle have a major role to play in helping a young Lord defend his right to his title against the treacherous uncle who is plotting against him.
Jason and the Wonder Horn is a grand adventure story with winsome characters, and it is sure to capture the fancy of young readers. Like all good time-travel tales, part of its appeal lies in the vivid depiction of a bygone time and a faraway place. However, of equal importance is the magical element of how the characters find themselves whisked away from the world they know. In this case, Jason's wonder horn provides the perfect passport to ancient times. Young people will be immediately caught up in the legend of the shepherd knight and will be swept away by the brisk plot as Jason and his young friends try to make their way to Lord Friedrich's castle and to find the hidden document that will prove his rightful claim to the title of Lord. The author does an impressive job of bringing to life the world of Germany in the 1400's, and of highlighting how vastly different the daily lives of the people were from what we know today. The tension in the story keeps readers rapidly turning pages to find out what will happen next: will Jason be hung by Otto and his men for supposedly stealing the golden horn? Will the children make it through the precarious tunnel to Hildred and Gunther's house and then into the forest to Frau Wolfin? And will they be able to solve Frau Wolfin's riddle and find the important document in time to put a stop to Otto's evil plans?
I thought that the fact that the wonder horn had great significance in both ancient and modern times was a nice touch. That is to say, I enjoyed the fact that not only was the bugle the key to their time-travel, but it was also a major part of the legend of the shepherd knight. I was disappointed, however, that there was no family link to Jason's time-travel. I kept anticipating that one of the characters would turn out to be a distant relative or somehow be connected with great-uncle Joseph. I also thought that the ending was a little abrupt, in a couple of ways. For one, the fact that Otto simply ran off to a monastery seemed to be a somewhat anti-climactic resolution to that conflict. Secondly, when the children were transported back to modern times, I was surprised that the youngsters just went their separate ways. And I would have liked to see Jason and his mother talk about family history again, with Jason having a new perspective in light of his recent experiences. However, aside from these minor observations, I wholeheartedly enjoyed this book and can picture many young people being equally absorbed by it.
Lisa Doucet is a children's bookseller at Woozles in Halifax, NS.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.