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Children's LiteratureThis thirteenth adventure in the "Time Warp Trio" series has the three guys playing ball in a Mayan ringball court, only if they lose, they forfeit their lives. The story jumps right into the action only pausing in the second chapter to explain how The Book works. Humor, puns, snappy dialogue, an evil priest named Kakapupahed which the boys of course morph to "kakapoopoohead," and other bits make this one fun to read. The boys are captured and assumed dead, but with the help of a Mayan boy Jun and his mother who have a longtime issue to settle with the evil priest, the boys "return from the dead," playing as "Kashmuny Inurface, and Kikbut." They discover that the ball is pure rubber and heavy, but they manage to put it through the ring, steal the high priest's book, The Book—and expect to go home. But one last twist gives the reader another laugh and a lesson in Mayan math. Adam McCauley's stylish drawings owe something to Mayan artwork but more to the edgy modern twist he has also used in the previous four books he has illustrated for the series. It doesn't matter which book you start with to be able to enjoy this one on its own. 2003, Viking, Ages 7 to 10.
— Susan Hepler, Ph.D.