Joe, Sam, and Fred are wrestling in Joe's bedroom after school one day when they accidentally bump into Joe's bookshelf, knocking off The Book. This is no ordinary book because when opened, it can transport the three companions into a different time and place. A hazy, green mist begins to swirl around them, and off they go to ancient Rome, where they first encounter a huge gladiator! They test their true wrestling capabilities when they are thrust into a match at the Colosseum. The only way to get back home is to locate The Book in Rome. Will their many hours of watching professional wrestling pay off? Will they find The Book and make it back home before the gladiators cream them at the Colosseum? This fantasy will keep readers in suspense until the end. It is one of many in the "Time Warp Trio series," that deal with a different time travel adventure. Scieszka (author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales) uses humor and juvenile language while including historical details about Rome, making this adventure fun to read as well as educational. The black and white illustrations are just enough to help readers visualize the characters without being distracting. 2002, Puffin Books, and Ages 9 to 12.
This is the next book in a series about three time traveling boysJoe, Sam, and Fredwho find adventure by falling into a magic "Book." This story transports this trio to ancient Rome where the boys find themselves enrolled in a gladiator school. While trying to stay out of fights with various gladiators, the young trio is desperately trying to find the "Book," which will also transport them back home. When the boys enlist the help of a Professor, the boys are, unfortunately, promptly captured. Soon, the boys and the professor are scheduled to fight, but the time warp trio cons the Emperor into letting them perform a wrestling match instead, which meets the approval of the ancient Roman spectators. Finally, the boys sneak away from the gladiator arena and hide in the Temple of Vesta to avoid the gladiators who are searching for them. In time, an ancient Roman priestess finds them, and returns their "Book," and the famed trio returns safely home. As Roman tradition says, it was foretold that time travelers would return to claim their missing volume on the first day of the ancient Roman games and so it happens. Scieszka has written another of one his satirical children stories one appreciated by students of all ages. Genre: Fantasy/Adventure. 2000,The Penguin Group, 87 pp., $14.99. Ages 8 up. Reviewer: Barbara Wilcox; Merritt Island, Florida
Gr 2-5-Joe, Sam, and Fred didn't mean to open Joe's magic book again, but while they were wrestling, they bumped into the bookcase and now they are back in the golden age of Rome, trying to do as the Romans do, as gladiators. Will their moves, culled from hours of watching WWF, impress in the Coliseum, or are they history? Fear not-the boys triumph in the arena, using their cleverness and ingenuity against tridents and swords. Scieszka has an ear for the fast-paced language and sense of humor of school-aged kids and this book continues to illustrate his talents. McCauley's black-and-white cartoons are a perfect match for the action-packed text. This is an excellent addition to the series and fans of the "Time Warp Trio" will shout "thumbs up" for these three would-be gladiators.-Kate McLean, Dekalb County Public Library, Tucker, GA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Never ones to learn from past mistakes, Joe, Sam, and Fred, collectively the Time Warp Trio, again horse around until they knock open The Book and are whisked away to another era. This time it's ancient Rome, and a gladiator school run by one (don't you dare laugh) Dorkius. Losing no time setting off a food fight in the gladiatorial lunchroom and getting on the wrong sides of aptly named Horridus and Brutus, off they hie to the newly built Colosseum, to woo the crowds with some WWF-style razzle-dazzle, lead their hulking nemeses on a merry chase through the streets of Rome, and reclaim The Book, their ticket to the present, from a Vestal Virgin. As usual, the tale tumbles along at a frantic clip past cliffhangers, wisecracks, and even some subliminal tidbits of facts, the last capped by a handy list of English/Latin phrases, such as "Which way to the vomitorium? / Qua via itur ad vomitorium?" Even with a new illustrator slipping into Lane Smith's accustomed place, the Time Warp Trio continues to rule the "skinny book" shelves with just the right hook for that elusive not-quite-avid-reader audience that loves them. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 9-11)