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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
After 20 years, acclaimed author Chris Van Allsburg follows up his Caldecott Medal winner Jumanji, conjuring up out-of-this-world playtime for two adventure-prone Bundwing boys.
A new universe opens up when Danny discovers a second, hidden board tucked snugly at the bottom of the Jumanji game box. The new game is covered in curious decorations: various space objects and a "path of colored squares leading from Earth to a purple planet called Zathura and back to Earth." Of course, Danny can't resist throwing the dice, which results in a pop-up card that warns of a meteor shower. Not long after, a giant space rock lands in the middle of the boys' living room. Each new roll of the dice brings more surprises: the house is suddenly transported to outer space; a lack of gravity forces Danny to tie his brother to the couch; a murderous robot tries to destroy the boys and scares away Zyborg space pirates; and Walter gets swallowed by a black hole. Fortunately, though, Walter's trip brings him and us strangely back to an early scene in the book, with Jumanji getting purposely dumped in the trash.
With his trademark grainy black-and-white illustrations tickling our imagination (strangely placed objects and perplexing perspectives abound) and the mysterious energy that runs through all his books, Van Allsburg again delivers a winner that will send fans into orbit. The action-packed plot of Zathura fits with its predecessor like the missing piece of a puzzle, leaving readers with the fantastic feeling that Van Allsburg is the ruler of a marvelously crafted world in which these boys -- and every reader -- can find adventure. Truly far out. Matt Warner