Readers' Favorite

February 16, 2022

2 Books for Young Readers

by MK French

As a parent, we are always looking for new books to keep our children engaged with reading. While many schools require so many minutes of reading each day we don't want reading to feel like a chore. Today, I have to fun books for our young readers. The first is recommended for kids 8 to 12 years old and the second is for children 6 to 10 years old. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Forbidden City by James Ponti

Forbidden City
February 2022;  Aladdin; 978-1534479210
audio, ebook, print (448 pages); adventure

After discovering the mole, the City Spies are back in action and ready for another mission. This time, they're set to stop Umbra from recruiting a North Korean nuclear physicist by protecting his son during chess tournaments. At the same time, Sydney follows a billionaire's daughter to see why an old Soviet missile base is threatening them.

Forbidden City is the third book in the City Spies series, following City Spies (read my review) and Golden Gate. These are children from all over the world that have various skills that make them indispensable in various cities as spies. We open the book with an infiltration at the billionaire's daughter's birthday, a massive event including an exclusive concert for the wealthy and privileged of the UK and embassy staffers' children. As good as they are, however, they're still kids and still apt to make mistakes. We wouldn't have a novel otherwise! Paris' slip up with our opening salvo means that other people know something is up and are on the lookout, making their later jobs harder to do.

I like how the kids, for all their smarts and skills, really are just kids. Brooklyn feels left out when she can't be part of the multi-pronged mission. Paris is good at a lot of things but not necessarily confident when missions go sideways. Kat is as blunt as ever but has a good heart and is eager to help the rest of the team. Sydney can get starstruck by social media influencers but still learn how to connect and speak with others. Rio is effortlessly charming and willing to teach others. I love how these lessons flow naturally in the beginning and ease the rising tension of the mission throughout the novel. 

While the stars are preteens, all of the main characters and side characters feel fully fleshed out. The spoiled Tabatha has her own story within the scope of the novel and her father's villainy, and I actually got to like her as Sydney got to know her. The history of the different locations in the novel was sprinkled in and gave nice clues to the endgame of the story. Overall, this is a great continuation to the series, and it'll be fun to read further books starring the City Spies.

Buy Forbidden City at Amazon

Ronaldo: Scandal at the Reindeer Flying Academy by Maxine Sylvester

Ronaldo Scandal at the Reindeer Flying Academy
December 2021; Indie; 979-8761333154
ebook, print (120 pages); children's

The Wing Commander at the Flying Academy has been fired, after Ronaldo lies about an accident he was in. Trying to fix the mistake he made, Ronaldo discovers a plan to get rid of her. Time is running out for him to prove the suspects' involvement.

This is the fifth Ronaldo book; I had previously reviewed Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher (my review), Ronaldo: Rudy's Birthday Extravaganza (my review), and Ronaldo: The Vixen Pederson Workshop (my review). As with those books, this one is perfect for elementary school age readers, especially those between ages 6 and 10. These illustrated chapter books subtly teach lessons like honesty and friendship, always good things to learn at that age.

In this volume, Ronaldo is trying to impress a new cadet at the Academy. Who doesn't remember trying to make themselves look a bit better in front of others to be liked? Or having a crush? I'm sure we never got anyone fired, though. It's admirable for Ronaldo to take responsibility for his actions, and the lesson in this novel is integrity. It's a big choice for any youngster to make: the truth or a lie that could benefit them? Ronaldo has his friends and grandfather to rely on, as well as a mom reading mysteries that enjoys acting like a sleuth. 

A children's book will have a happy ending, with Ronaldo doing the right thing and getting rewarded for it. That's a better world for all kids to see and learn from.

(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for FREE)

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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  1. Thank you M.K. for your wonderful review, I am delighted that you think it "is perfect for elementary school age readers".
    Thank you

    maxine and Ronaldo