Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Imagination Station Attack at the Arena Book Review

The kids and I had had the great opportunity to review Attack at the Arena by Marrianne Hering and Paul McCusker.  Attack at the Arena is book 2 in the Imagination Station series put out through Focus on the Family.  It is part of the Adventure in Odyssey series.  The kids and I decided to read this book as a read aloud every evening.  We had so much fun with it, that they can't wait to get the next book in the series.

The story begins with a short prologue detailing the story line in book 1.  The prologue introduced the 3 main characters in the book, Mr. Whittaker, the Imagination Station inventor, and cousins Beth and Patrick.  We learn that Mr. Whittaker is using the Imagination Station to send the cousins back in time to try to save someone named Albert from the mysterious Lord Darkthorn.  The children are sent to find certain items that are requested in a letter sent to Mr. Whittaker through the Imagination Station.  The first item recovered was a blue Sunstone found in Greenland.  The next adventure, Attack at the Arena is underway.  The cousins are sent to Rome to look for a silver cup/chalice.

Before Patrick and Beth are sent to Rome through the Imagination Station they are placed in the correct clothing for the time period.  Patrick is dressed as a Monk, and Beth is in a white tunic with gold trim on the front.  This white tunic is what slaves wore during ancient roman times.  The Cousins are off to find the silver cup/chalice.  The Imagination Station drops the kids off in an old Roman Arena.  The arena is empty of people, but soon Beth and Patrick learn they are not alone.  A wild tiger comes racing towards them.  This is only the start of what Beth and Patrick will face along their journey.  As they progress through the story, the cousins soon find out why they are wearing what they are wearing.  Patrick soon meets up with a Monk, Telemachus, who saves Patrick and Beth on more than one occasion.  Beth soon becomes a slave to the very young, and powerful Emperor, Honorius.  In the end Honorius has a very important decision to make in regards to the Roman Games that take place in the arena.  Telemachus, the Monk is the one who helps guide Honorius in his decision, with only a few words.  The cousins journey to find the silver cup/chalice, not only helps Albert, but in the end changes the lives of the people of Rome.

The kids and I decided to read Attack at the Arena as a read aloud.  Every night we sat down together and read two chapters.  The kids were always asking to read more.  They loved this book!  Attack at the Arena is fast paced and full of adventure.  We never knew what was going to happen next.  Attack at the Arena was not only full of adventure, but it had a wonderful lesson in humanity and being children of God.  I love the many references to the Bible and what it means to be a noble person.  I also like that there is a lesson in history embedded in this story.  We were able to learn about the clothing the Romans wore during this time period, as well as the games that took place at the Arena.  I can honestly say, that there was not one thing we disliked about this book.  We enjoyed it so much that the kids would like to continue with the series as part of our nightly reading.  Tay, my 10 year old did say she was disappointed in the ending as she wanted more information about the fate of the Monk.  The book is geared towards kids ages 7 and up, but if you are doing a family read aloud, I think this book would be great for kids of any age.  Overall Attack at the Arena is a wonderful, adventurous story that we thoroughly enjoyed reading together as a family.

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of Attack at the Arena from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my review.  The above review is my honest opinion and thoughts on this book.



  1. My kids love listening to Adventures in Odyssey on CD/radio, but I was not aware of their books. I will be looking into getting this book especially since we are doing Roman History now. I guess I can purchase them through Tyndale House Publishers right? BTW, how do you get free copies of books to review? Did you just call the company and ask them for a book in exchange for a review or did they contact you? I've had several companies contact me about free product in exchange for a review, but I rarely make time to follow up with the offer.

  2. Hi Tracy,

    I woud be happy to send you my copy if you would like. This story would go along great with your Roman history. If you go to the Tyndale site and sign up under the bog network. Once you do this they will place items available for you to review under your account information. You then chose which items you would like to review and then they will send the books to you. Once you finish you post a review on your blog and then link it to your account at Tyndale. They then approve your review and you get to start the whole process again. Let me know if you would like me to send Attack at the Arena to you. I am sure you and the kids will enjoy it. Talk soon. Have a great day!

  3. Love love love their stuff. I used to list to Adventures in Odyssey on the way too and from church years Stopping by from HHH!

  4. These books sounds good! Might be a little younger than my kids would like, but then again, maybe not for my youngest. Thanks for the recommendation!

    By the way, I'm here today from the Hip Homeschool Hop!

  5. Looks like a fun book! We are big Adventures in Odyssey fans at our house. I found you through the Hip Homeschool Hop and am now following!


Thank you all so much for all the wonderful comments. I love to read them and check out what others are doing as well. I am thankful for all of you for reading and letting me know your thoughts.