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Miss Trimble's Trapdoor Series Review by Jenny Thompson

By Lori Jordan-Rice; illustrated by Fox Carlton Hughes
c/o Amy Currie, Senior Publicist
2100 Kramer Lane, Suite 300
Austin, TX 78758
512-478-2028 ext. 211

American history is either being rewritten or completely ignored in many of America's public schools. Children in America often know less about their own country than children in other parts of the world do. As homeschool parents, many of us see this problem and are teaching our students the truth about the history of our great nation. Lori Jordan-Rice's new series of books sets out to instill a love for American history in children through exciting storylines and lovable characters. Miss Trimble's Trap Door and Miss Trimble's Trapdoor: The Perseverance of Christopher Columbus are the first two books in the Miss Trimble's Trapdoor series, with more titles being added soon.

In Miss Trimble's Trapdoor, readers are introduced to Tyler, a somewhat sloppy 5th-grader who struggles in school. His teacher has given him a quiet spot in the room so that he can do his work without being distracted. Little does he know that he's sitting above a magical trapdoor that will completely change his outlook on school. One day, while trying to give Miss Trimble an answer to what happened in the year 1492, Tyler falls through the trapdoor into the basement, discovering a library of sorts that is guarded by Barnabas ("Barney") Bailey, the talking dog. Barney takes Tyler on a journey back in time to see history for himself. Along the way, Tyler also learns a few lessons about life.

One of the books that Tyler discovers in the basement library is called The Perseverance of Christopher Columbus. It is only fitting, then, that the second book in the Miss Trimble's Trapdoor series is by the same title. As October 12 approaches, Miss Trimble asks her students to prepare a report on Christopher Columbus, which will be delivered orally in front of the class. Daunted by this task, Tyler again retreats to the basement to visit his furry friend. Barney transports Tyler into various times in the life of Columbus to show him how Columbus persevered in order to realize his dream. Learning about Columbus gives Tyler the courage he needs to not only give his oral report but also try out for the basketball team.

This series is so well written that it will appeal to a wide age range of children. Lori Jordan-Rice has created a relatable underdog in the main character, Tyler. Many kids will connect to Tyler's difficulties in school and his desire to fit in with his peers. I love the fact that Tyler's historical guide, Barney, does not give him quick, easy solutions to his problems. By teaching Tyler about the accomplishments of true American heroes, he instills in Tyler the beliefs and values of those heroes as well. As Tyler learns to accept himself and work on building his own integrity, he finds that making friends comes much more naturally.

I want to mention that since my 6-year-old daughter is not yet reading on the level of these books, I read them to her. I discovered that the writing style of this series makes the books extremely easy to read aloud. So many books today are written in such a way that words and phrases do not flow off the tongue. I have read several books to my daughter that I have had to sputter and stumble through. I would like to commend Lori Jordan-Rice for her excellent job writing stories that are as fun for kids to listen to as they are to read out loud.

Because of the high quality writing and artwork in the Miss Trimble's Trapdoor series, I highly recommend these books to all homeschool families. I am so impressed with these first two books that my daughter and I cannot wait for the next titles to be released. What great additions to our homeschool library!

Product review by Jenny Thompson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010