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Legend of the Star Runner: A Timmi Tobbson Adventure Book for Boys and Girls (Solve-Them-Yourself Mysteries for Kids 8-12) Hardcover – May 22, 2018
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From the Publisher
For explorers and sleuths young and old
Unravel mysteries by finding visual clues concealed within beautiful illustrations. Uncover the 'Legend of the Star Runner'.
Where was the ancient key hidden?
A mysterious riddle describes a secret hiding place in Granpa's attic.
(This is a sample from the book. All pictures are cropped. Solving the puzzle requires reading the story.)
Find the homepage of Timmi Tobbson and get the 'Easter-Egg-Companion', 'The Lost Chapter' as well as the 'Numbers Cheatbook' as PDF-Files to download.
- "A splendid homage to adventure"
- "A visual feast"
A spirited trio of kid sleuths undertake a classic treasure hunt in J. I. Wagner's Legend of the Star Runner. Taking its inspiration from video games and cloak-and-dagger mysteries, this story for middle-grade readers is a visual feast.
Lilli's grandfather is facing eviction. With the prospect of a pirate's treasure guiding them, she and her best friends, Marvin andTimmi, set out to find the loot to rescue him from his debts. A large-hearted, naïve, and wildly improbable plot delights as the fearless team - led by a treasure hunter - lands in a series of underground worlds.
Several twists and turns hinge on pure luck, timing, and uncanny perceptions. A reliance on video-game staples, including hidden passageways, trapdoors, puzzles, maps, and multiple-choice paths, sometimes threatens to turn the book into a high-concept maze. Still, what the story misses in the depth of its background, the illustrations make up for; they are smart compositions using chromatic palettes and feature clues. From a cluttered kitchen to the check-in desk at the Savoy to a wall of keys at an archive, scenes set a distinct mood for the story.
The tone is wisely calibrated; it's neither overly terrifying nor overly lighthearted. The perils the group encounter pose enough danger to build suspense yet leave room for escape. There's seldom doubt that the kids will prevail, considering their Holmesian knack for observation; the book's pleasure rests in their citywide ranging that peels back history to reveal the secrets of a legendary pirate embedded in their midst.
A list of fun facts lists the book's film influences, which include Pirates of the Caribbean, and a section of hints offers insights written in reverse. With the exuberance of a caper, determined protagonists, and a message steeped in family legacy, this first in a planned series is a splendid homage to adventure.
Reviewed by Karen Rigby
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
From the Author
spot an email address in one of the illustrations? Try sending a message
and see what happens... but there is more to it than pure entertainment.
A Story for the Heart - A Challenge to the Mind
This is a story about friendship first and foremost. A story for the heart.
And about the drive to explore, to inquire and to second-guess. All three
main characters require perseverance and courage to succeed, and
derive the necessary strength from their friendship.
Gets Kids' Eyes Off Screens
This book is designed to also engage today's young video gamers and
water their taste for books. One of the main reasons for the appeal of
video games is a frequent feeling of accomplishment. This book is
designed to achieve the same. The 31 concise chapters, each ending with
a puzzle to be solved, provide an equally rewarding experience. The
high-quality visuals are another reason video gaming kids will feel right
Will Girls Like the Book Too?
My wife and I are proud parents of our super-cute (no bias here)
daugther Emmelie. It was important to me to create a character with
Lilli, who is ready to take the lead and make things happen. Who doesn't
care about what society expects but about fulfilling her own dreams and
So yes, I created this story with girls in mind. Hopefully, my daughter
(and you too) will love it the way I do.
- Publisher : freshabooks (May 22, 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 160 pages
- ISBN-10 : 3963267704
- ISBN-13 : 978-3963267703
- Reading age : 8 - 12 years
- Grade level : 4 - 6
- Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #155,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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1. Some of the illustrations are so dark, it was hard to see possible clues.
2. There’s an extremely random moment when an adult character shouts “Jesus!” in anger. There isn’t any other adult language in the book (at least not that I can remember), and this totally comes out of left field. Regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs, this is a REALLY strong word for a children’s book, and admittedly, it had me on edge for the rest of the story, worried that there might be another instance of language that I might not catch in time and inadvertently say to my 7 year old. Thankfully, there wasn’t, but geez. Tip: next time, don’t put random language in a kid’s book.
Now I also bought this book for my nephew, who is in 6th grade and has dyslexia / dysgraphia. This is the first book he begs to read another chapter of.
The puzzles are unlike those of any other book. Your kid becomes a detective and needs to combine the information given in the story with what can be inferred from the chapter’s illustration. In the back of the book you can find hints, offering some help if you get stuck. To sum it up:
- Engaging story about helping Lilli’s grandpa (a treasure hunt NOT motivated by greed)
- Very different main characters to identify with (e.g. ranging from very sensitive to very outgoing)
- Short chapters (three pages) making it accessible to kids lacking reading experience
- A full page color illustration at the end of each chapter
- A puzzle to solve at the end of each chapter (e.g. How could we tell a painting had been stolen?)
- Hints at the end of the book (can be read by looking at the writing in a mirror)
- Bonus: Hidden numbers in each illustration work as a passcode to enter a secret area on the website of the book
Honestly, I thought this might be a bit much for my 6-YO, but he was very engaged and very good at picking out hidden clues in the illustrations. Only on some of the harder ones did I need to provide some additional clues for him. And only on the hardest puzzles did I need to refer to the clues at the end of the book (designed to be read in a mirror).
We both ended up having great fun with this, and can't wait till the next installment. If I have one reservation, it's that the re-reading potential is lower due to having solved the puzzles already.
Top reviews from other countries
Chapters were a great length for post bed reading, and I was often persuaded to read 'just one more'! The puzzles were rarely too difficult for her, though often I did have to give her a few pointers. The clues at the back, written upside down and mirrored, were also great fun to check - she loved using her little pocket mirror to check them even if she knew the answer!
A great read and we'd undoubtedly love a sequel, or a whole new story in this style.