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It all began on a Monday.
Beth and her cousin Patrick were at Whit's End. It was a soda shop in a large, old house. Kids thought Whit's End was the best place in town for ice cream.
But there was a lot more to Whit's End than scoops and cones. It had more rooms than Patrick could count.
Down the hallway was a radio studio. And a theater to perform plays. Plus a library.
On the second floor, there was a large model train. And the Bible Room. It was like a kids' museum.
Patrick followed Beth from room to room with wide eyes.
"Are there any video games?" Patrick asked. "The kind with sword fighters? Or guys who fight monsters?"
"No," Beth said. "But I'll show you the Imagination Station. It's kind of like a time machine."
Patrick liked the words imagination and time machine.
"Where is it?" Patrick asked.
"It's usually in the corner of the Bible Room," Beth said. "But it's not there today. Come on. Let's ask Mr. Whittaker. Someone said he's in his basement workshop."
Patrick followed Beth down the spiral staircase and over to the basement door. She opened it. They went down another set of stairs.
At the bottom, the cousins looked into a large room. It was filled with tables and benches. There were boxes, large drills, and sawhorses. Parts from old ovens and computers sat on the floor.
"This is his workshop?" Patrick asked. He picked up a rusted spring from a nearby table. He dropped it. The spring made a ping sound. It bounced like a toy.
"It looks more like a scientist's junkyard," he said.
"Mr. Whittaker invents things," Beth said.
Beth picked up the spring. She put it back on a table.
Just then Mr. Whittaker came around a corner. He was tall with white hair and a moustache. He also had a kind smile.
"Good morning, Beth," Mr. Whittaker said.
"Hi, this is my cousin Patrick. He's my age," she said. "His mom is my dad's sister."
"Hi," Patrick said.
Suddenly Beth said, "There it is!"
She walked over to a large machine. The front part was round like a helicopter.
"I wanted Patrick to see the Imagination Station," she said.
Mr. Whittaker said, "I'm sorry. It's not working. That's why I brought it down here."
"May we sit in it?" Beth asked.
"Sure," Mr. Whittaker said.
Beth waved for Patrick to join her. She climbed onto the seat. Patrick followed her.
"Look at all these buttons!" he said.
He pointed to a long dashboard. It had lots of buttons, dials, and numbers on it. There was also a piece of paper sitting on the dash.
"Too bad it's not working," Beth said.
"What does this button do?" Patrick asked. He tapped a large red button with his finger.
The machine came alive. A low hum came from the back of the machine. Lights and buttons blinked on the dashboard. Needles on round dials swung back and forth.
"That's very strange," Mr. Whittaker said. "Come out again."
The cousins obeyed. The machine went dark.
Mr. Whittaker climbed inside. He pushed buttons. Nothing happened. He got out again.
"I don't know what's wrong," he said. "It's working for you, but not for me."
"May we try again?" Patrick asked.
"Go ahead," said Mr. Whittaker.
The kids got into the machine. It lit up again. Whit rubbed his chin slowly. He looked puzzled.
"It wants to take us for a ride!" Patrick said.
"May we go?" Beth asked. "Please?"
Excerpted from Voyage with the Vikings by MARIANNE HERING PAUL McCUSKER Copyright © 2010 by Focus on the Family. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted July 9, 2012
So after reading book 2 first - my children (8 & 5) and I read book 1. I loved the educational pieces of the story. It led us on an internet search for more information about Vikings. Anytime a book can help us learn more about our world and our history, it's great!
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 11, 2013
Posted July 25, 2013
As an adult having never (except maybe once) listened to Adventures in Odyssey, I still enjoyed this little book. It's fast-paced, simply-put but informative, and has fun illustrations. Children will enjoy traveling back in time through this series, I'm sure. The children in the book are brave, helpful, and loving, without the bickering and name-calling you often find in kids' books.
The whole story is not resolved, which makes one more curious to read the rest of the series, but at least the one time period is finished.
Posted July 21, 2013
Posted August 29, 2012
Beth & Patrick are cousins in Odyssey who, after meeting Mr. Whittaker and taking a peek at the Imagination Station, are surprised to find out that *they* can make it work - and travel in time!
It is the year 1000, and their mission is to find a Viking sunstone. When they arrive, they discover that Vikings are pretty fierce, and they don't shake hands. They meet Erik the Red and his son, Leif, who is a Christian (his dad doesn't approve). They also get to see the Northern Lights and teach the King about kindness and loving your enemies.
I think these are wonderful books for an earlier reader. The combination of history and fantasy (they are able to take their knowledge of historical events and make educated decisions on how to behave, etc.), really adds to the story. I recommend this series!
Posted August 4, 2012
Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station book 1, Voyage with the Vikings by Paul McCusker and Marianne Hering has a good message that parents will like. Kids will love this book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 28, 2012
Cousins Beth and Patrick went to Whit's End. After getting into the imagination station they were transported to where the Vikings lived. They were told that they needed to find a Viking sun stone or Mr. Whitaker's friend would be locked in Lord Darthorn's tower. They met Leif Erikson and he helped them find the sun stone. When they were on their way home Patrick told Leif Erikson's father about Jesus. The cousins made it back to the imagination station they gave the sun stone to Whit to help Albert. Then they found another note telling them that they needed to help Albert by going to Rome to get the monk's silver cup.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 25, 2012
As a big fan of the Adventures in Odyssey radio program, I was looking forward to reading these books. We are introduced to the two main characters, Beth and Patrick, right off the bat, along with Mr. Whittaker and Whit's End. The plot follows their first adventure in the Imagination Station, where they meet Lief Erickson and begin a story arc which will presumably carry the next several books.
The writing is typical of what is offered at this level of children's literature. Comments comparing it to the Magic Tree House series are right on. I would hazard a guess that most readers over the age of 10 and/or advanced readers (those comfortable with books on par with Chronicles of Narnia or Alcott's Little Women) will find this a very easy read. I read this with my junior reading buddy over the summer as a quick read, and we both enjoyed it.
The story is cheerful, includes a Christian moral, and leaves as its only loose end the lead in for the next book. A 'comprehension' quiz is included at the end of the book disguised as a secret message to ensure the reader hit all the main points. The norse names may provide a stumbling block in using this as a read aloud, but hopefully researching how to say Thjodhild will provide a fun launch pad into learning more about the Vikings and Erickson's conversion to Christianity.
Posted June 23, 2012
"Voyage With the Vikings" is the first in The Imagination Station series, presented by Focus on the Family. In this book, we are introduced to cousins Beth and Patrick who are sent on amazing adventures in the Imagination Station, invented by Mr. Whitaker. Each adventure has something that the cousins need to accomplish in order to help save another character.
I read this book with my four-year-old, and he really enjoyed it. It's reminiscent of "The Magic Treehouse" series, but with a bit more depth and detail. We are already looking forward to getting the next book from the library to continue the adventure!
Posted January 30, 2012
Posted July 7, 2011
Recently I picked up Voyage with the Vikings, the first book in Adventures in Odyssey's Imagination Station series. The book is written by Paul McCusker and Marianne Hering, and tells the story of cousins Patrick and Ben. While visiting the Whit's End soda shop they climb into the Imagination Station where they find a mysterious letter asking for a Viking sunstone. Mr. Whittaker then transports the two to Greenland in the year 1000. There they meet the Viking king Erik the Red and his son Leif Eriksson.
What's great about this book is that not only do you have some great Viking history in it, but the story also corresponds with Christian history, where it talks about the growing amount of Christians in the Norse world. Not only that, but kids will love the adventure and will have fun while learning something new. And you can even visit the Adventures in Odyssey website to learn more facts about the Vikings, find some coloring pages and even some family games and devotionals that all tie in with the book.
If you have a young grade school child, then this will be the perfect book for them (and you) and I have to say that I highly recommend it.
Posted June 7, 2011
By: Marianne Hering and Paul McCusker Book#1
In the voyage with the Vikings, Patrick and Beth go on an adventure in the imagination station and visited Greenland and the Vikings. While they are there they meet Erik the red, a mean old king, but they can not let that stop them from there mission. If they do not get a sunstone by the next full moon, someone will die because of it. Will they save the day or will fear destroy there mission before it is even started. Find out when you read Voyage with the Vikings.
This book is a mix of things that makes it hard to talk about. This book is a mix of history fiction and mystery. I really enjoyed this book, even though it is a very short book and a kid book I thought it had quiet a lot of information for such a small book. The book has a couple of illustrations' that are very well done even though they are black and white they are very well detailed. You will imagine your self there in the story in the adventure and facing what they faced. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend to any homeschooler.
I was not made to write a good review, only to voice my opinion. This book was written by Paul McCusker and Marianne Hering, published by Tydale publisher.
Posted June 2, 2011
I haven't listened to much of Adventures in Odyssey yet, but I've enjoyed what I've heard on the radio/television thus far. Based on what I have watched and heard from them, I feel their program is very creative, humorous, and inspirational for all ages; I wish I would have heard about them when I was younger. I thought of their program when I saw this book was available and had the Adventures in Odyssey logo. I realize this is a book meant for mid to late elementary school children, and it brought back memories of the Scholastic book Fair coming to my Public elementary school where I would buy/read a few of their books. Looking back from that time, if I had a book like this when I was a kid I probably would have liked it and learned from it too.
Voyage with the Vikings, is the 1st book out of four within the Imagination Station Book Series. Patrick and his cousin Beth come to Whit's End (an ice cream shop) to see Mr. Whittaker and he shows the kids a special device called The Imagination Station. The Imagination Station is like a time machine only a bit more complex where it will desire for the user to complete a certain objective without alternating history. In this story, the cousins see there is a mysterious note left for them within the Imagination Station telling them to go find a Viking Sunstone in order to save someone named Albert. With Mr. Whittaker's permission, they use the Imagination Station to go back to the time of the Vikings where they meet Erik the Red and Leif Ericson (sometimes also spelled Eriksson).
One curious detail was how the book said Leif was a Christian. I wasn't sure if this idea was accurate or fan fiction, because I never learned this within the public school setting, so I did some brief online research and sure enough Leif and others within the Viking culture were Christians, but there were some Vikings including Erik the Red who detested Christ as being too peaceful and prefer to worship pagan gods like Thor. As for the book itself, I thought it was pretty decent because it had large print, I liked the artwork provided, it was definitely educational, it showed good Christian conduct, and I also enjoyed the story enough where I am curious what happens in the next three books; I might have to review those later. My one complaint about the book, and perhaps they did this because of the reading level, is the story seemed a bit short and fast paced. I wished there was more to have read and the story didn't progress so quickly, but then again the quick pace prevents someone from skim reading lol. A good story for kids who are starting to get into more active reading.
Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishing, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Tyndale House Publishing to write a positive review. This review is the personal, written opinion of Ben Umnus.
Posted June 1, 2011
Anything by Adventures in Odyssey and Focus on the Family has got to be good, I thought, and this book didn't disappoint! The Imagination Station series is above my daughters' reading level (all 3 are in 1st grade) but I often read books like this to them during our home school class time.
We just finished reading "The Reluctant Dragon" (which I also highly recommend) and this book was next on the shelf. "Voyage With the Vikings" grabbed our interest from the first. I love History as much as I love books, and my kids love History, too. I've been reading them great historical non-fiction (try David Adler's picture book series) and great historical fiction since they were tiny. No dry Ferris Bueller-style History lessons for us!
"Voyage with the Vikings" is actually the first book in the Imagination Station series by Marianne Herring and Paul McKuster. This book is about real-life vikings Eric the Red and Leif Eriksson. The cover itself gives an accurate description of the book: 2 kids, Beth and Patrick, end up going back to around AD1,000 and getting mixed up in a viking adventure. "Voyage with the Vikings" delves into the history of Iceland, Leif Eriksson's conversion to Christianity and the strife that caused between he and his father, and so much more... but you'll have to read it to find out the "more"!
This series is great, exciting fiction that's sure to peak your kids' interest in History. It's very similar to the popular Magic Treehouse Series but better because it's got great spiritual values, too. It's the Christian version of good kids historical fiction I've been waiting for! These kids pray and rely on Jesus whether they're living in 2010 or 1000 years in the past.
We are SO eager to read the other books in the series!
Posted June 1, 2011
Wonderful chapter reader for children! If your children like the Adventure in Odyssey series they will love this book of adventure and excitement. Children are quickly drawn into a lively tale of viking adventures. They meet Leif Erikson and are set out on a mission to fine a sunstone before he sets sail with the Imagination Station on board - will they make it? The story is well-written and easy to read. My oldest boy was so excited to receive it in the mail and could not wait to begin reading. The children are confronted with many challenges and opportunities to share about God when they meet Erik the Red. Erik is angry about the new god that challenges his current beliefs. However the story has a redemptive and happy ending. Faith and courage prevail as is always the case in Adventures in Odyssey. I love the fact that children are absorbing good morals and values without even realizing it - for once the parent doesn't have to be the only one stating these things. Children are invited to see what these things are in action.
Excellent book. Thank you Tyndale for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted April 6, 2011
This book was just a pleasure to read! As a homeschooling Mom, it is definitely something I would love for my child to read. It had everything that a good book should have. A good story, a bit of mystery, a good, moral lesson, and pointing to God as the most important thing of all. The fact that it even had a bit of history to it, was a great bonus!
This story is part of the Adventures in Odyssey and The Imagination Station stories that are put out by Focus on the Family. Personally, I love anything put out by Focus on the Family because I know I can trust them to produce a wholesome program or book that I wouldn't be afraid to let my child read. This book does not disappoint!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story! It really held my attention and if it held my attention, I know it would definitely hold the attention of a child 7 years and up, which is who this book is recommended to. It's not a difficult book, but would be a great reader for your child when they are stepping up from the easier picture-type books. The great thing about this book, too, is that is has wonderful illustrations, so it's great for that reader who is working their way up from more of a picture book. However, because the story is so good, it would definitely be good for any child of any age or grade level. I highly recommend this book!
This book was provided to me for review by Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review.
Posted April 4, 2011
Voyage with the Vikings by Paul McCusker & Marianne Hering is the first book in the Imagination Station series from Adventures in Odyssey. The Imagination Station was created by Mr. Whittaker who runs a soda shop called Whit's End. It's a bit like a time machine, but Whit is having troubles with it. It won't work for him, but when cousins Paul and Beth step inside, it lights up, ready for a mission. And they have somewhere important to go: a mysterious Albert is threatened by Lord Darkthorn, and Paul and Beth must retrieve a Viking sunstone to rescue him. Whit keeps a huge supply of costumes on hand to ensure that wherever the cousins go, they will be dressed appropriately, and he seems to have some knowledge of what will happen because he gives them just the tools they will need. In this adventure, Paul and Beth meet Erik the Red and his son Leif Erikson in Greenland. Leif is a Christian and treats the children with kindness, but Erik thinks Christianity is for weaklings and fools and he wants to sell them as slaves. The kids will have to use both their smarts and ability to find the sunstone and escape with their lives. First Mia's review: I liked everything about this book, especially being able to go to the past. My favorite part was the mysterious person who helped them open the church door. I loved the illustrations and the author is magnificent at his writing. I learned that God should forever be in your path. I really like that all of these books are Jesus books. I like the alliteration in the title. Now my review: I think this is a fantastic new series for chapter book readers. Mia and I have read several in the Magic Tree House series, to which this is certain to be compared, but Imagination Station is far superior. The writing doesn't talk down to readers, the plots are thoroughly engaging while using historical characters. They give kids a good view of what life was like at the time, because Patrick and Beth are treated like children of the era. The plot about Albert will propel this kids forward through the next several books, and I will be glad to journey with them. This is one series that I don't dread reading aloud with my daughter each night.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 13, 2011
There were a couple problems I had with this book. For beginners, is it just me, or is the entire series just a poor ripoff of Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House series? I grew up with Osborne's maniacally popular children's series, so it sort of offended me how suspiciously similar the two were. Not that I'm surprised someone would try to reinvent The MTH books, given how successful they were.
And I am not just an angry elementary student all-grown-up; I'm serious about the congruences the books have to each other. In Magic Tree House, Jack and Annie find an abandoned tree house that can magically transport them to different times and places. Patrick and Beth find a similar "house", only it's an man-made machine, not-so-creatively named the Imagination Station. In Magic Tree House, the ethereal Morgan Lafay from Arthurian romance seeks Jack and Annie's help with finding the secret moonstone; in Imagination Station, the secretive Mr. Whittaker asks Patrick and Beth to find the magical sunstone. Okay, really? Doesn't that just make you furious?
I'll stop ranting about plagiarism here. Provided Random House doesn't sue Marianne Hering nor Paul McCusker for copyright issues, another thing that bothered me was how this was hardly a children's book. I mean, it was a children's book in terms of mildness and naivete ("Oh no, Patrick!"), but it seemed highly unlikely that a child age 7 and up could enjoy the story. Sure, it was full of adventure and suspense, but the female protagonist, Beth, didn't act like a seven-year-old. She just happened to know every little fact about ancient vikings and she's what...in second grade? I don't think so.
Negativity aside, the Voyage with the Vikings had an interesting, intriguing plot. Like I said, as a second grader, I probably would not have been able to relate very well to the characters, but lots of mystery was garnered into the danger and ruthlessness of the vikings, and as far as I know, the historical facts were accurate and presented in a way to interest young readers. I enjoyed how Christian belief was a strong element of the novel; in the end, Christ as the Savior was who saved Patrick and Beth from perishing on a viking ship. It's a clever way to get children willing to read, and also to incorporate religious values; better than Sunday school!
I recommend Voyage with the Vikings to young Christians as a learning tool, but as a story, it lacks originality and the same "I need to read the next book!" eagerness the Magic Tree House series has. In fact, Mary Pope Osborne even wrote a MTH book on vikings; I recall enjoying it much more than Voyage with the Vikings! But then again, I'm speaking relatively, since I knew Osborne was not a weak copy-cat when I had been reading her book. In absolute terms, Osborne and McCusker's writing styles may be similar, but we all know which of the two will continue to win the favor of young readers' hearts.
Posted March 7, 2011
Join Patrick and Beth on an adventure in the imagination station time machine at Whit's End in Odyssey. the popular radio program is now in book form. Your children can go on adventures with the characters in the book as they set off in the time machine to visit Viking times.
Mr. Whitaker sends cousins, Beth and Patrick, to the time of the Vikings to find a sunstone which will save the mysterious Albert, mentioned in a note which was left in the time machine.
The children arrive off the coast of Greenland in a Viking ship. They land on shore and meet Eric the Red and Leif his son. The men are preparing to set sail for Norway the next day.
Beth and Patrick learn about the Vikings as they interact with the people in the village and try to find the sunstone.
My children enjoyed this story. I like how the author weaves History, adventure, and Christianity together throughout the book. The story is fast paced with a few problems thrown in for the characters to solve.
My daughter, Hannah(11) says, "It was pretty cool".
This book would be a good addition to a study of the Vikings and the discovery of America. It is recommended for ages 7 and up with a grade level rating of 1.7. I think it would also make a good read aloud book for a wide range of ages. I plan to use it in our History studies.
I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Media in order to write this review and have shared my honest opinion.
Posted March 6, 2011
Beth and her cousin Patrick are at Mr. Whitaker's Soda Shoppe (i.e. Whit's End). Whit's End is one of those places that kids love to visit and have a treat. Beth and Patrick are enjoying some good old fashioned ice cream. After finishing their treat they are off to the Bible Room. Patrick is a first time visitor to Whit's End and wants to play video games. Beth informs that there are no video games but something called the Imagination Station. Patrick's curiosity is piqued because he likes the words Imagination Station.
But the Imagination Station is missing! Off the two go to find Mr. Whitaker the owner of Whit's End. He informs the two that the Imagination Station is not working; however, after a few twists and turns of a few knobs Whit (Mr. Whitaker) thinks the kids can have a go. First, they go to the costume closet and dress up for their adventure. Then Whit asks them to look for Viking Sunstone....as the two climb into the machine they find a note that tells them, "To save Albert I need a Viking Sunstone before the new moon or Lord Darkthorn will lock him inside the tower."
So the adventure begins!
This is a great adventure story for dyed-in-the-wool Adventures in Odyssey fans! Even if your child isn't familiar with Odyssey this is a wonderful 5 star read full of action, adventure and learning to rely on God! "The key to adventure lies within your imagination!"
*This book was provided for review by Tyndale*