Putting their logic skills to the test, Sophia and Mark face down a deadly scavenger hunt, the fearsome water monster Alexar, and a pair of mysterious beings known simply as “the Writers.” If Sophia and Mark fail their tests, they could be stuck in another dimension forever. Almation is a richly drawn world, and Penn delivers colorful, evocative descriptions and lovably weird characters. The inventive, Zoombinis–style logic puzzles are what make this story truly remarkable; young readers will have great fun trying to solve them along with Sophia and Mark. – KIRKUS Reviews
5-star review from Readers’ Favorite
Zoe Penn’s writing is highly creative, well plotted, filled with engaging characters both human and fantastic, and well spiced with many enjoyable twists and turns. Penn begins her tale of adventure with two children – a brother and a sister: Mark and Sophia – accidentally falling into the alternate reality of a strange, enticingly titled, recently discovered old book: Almation – The Book of Secrets. In order to navigate this odd but highly colorful new world, and in hopes of quickly returning home (there is a deadline), these sometimes-at-odds siblings must solve puzzles, answer riddles, and extricate themselves from several dangerous situations. New friends come often to their aid, however, turning their adventure into a humorous and fun romp for the pair. And for the younger reader, too.
Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers’ Favorite
From learning when and how to take risks and assess their consequences and impact to accepting responsibility for making big mistakes, saying goodbye, and following clues that seem to lead straight into further danger, The Library of Secrets reads like an Indiana Jones story for a younger audience, but embeds life lessons into its action.
From dark hallways and diamonds to jungle caves, hidden keys that promise to unlock freedom, and motivational speeches from talking monkeys, Sophia and her brother embark on a journey to reveal the truth, as well.
Advanced elementary to middle-grade readers who like their adventure stories packed with action and puzzles will relish this read, but adults who oversee or assign the book will especially appreciate the underlying messages it holds and the insights it provides about growth, courage, responsibility, and determination.
And, what happens to that world and their new friends if they achieve their goals and return home? The Library of Secrets: The Giant Mistake provides solid characterization, fast-paced action, and a logical series of progressive questions and answers, all wrapped in an engrossing adventure that will keep advanced elementary to middle grade readers on their toes and thoroughly engaged.
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review