Of all the book reviews I have ever done, none of them have ever been a chapter book. I may have been overlooking one of the greatest adventures available for youth besides fishing itself. A Whirlwind Opener by K. J. Houtman takes you on an adventure that has surprises around every corner as 11-year-old Gus Roberts and his grandfather journey to opening day of fishing. Unlike any video games, this chapter book not only teaches its young readers the value of outdoor experiences, but takes them on a voyage that they can relate to and learn from.
A Whirlwind Opener by K.J. Houtman is book number one of a four book series by Fish On Kids Books (www.fishonkidsbooks.com). All of the books are featured around fishing, hunting and camping. The fiction books are written for eight to 12 year olds. Currently just the four books are available, but there is at least nine more planned to be released.
Book #1 - A Whirlwind Opener
Meet Gus Roberts, a fifth grader who can't wait for his family's big plans for the fishing opener. Gus needs some time on the water but also a break from Matt Driver, a bully who's got everyone anxious for the end of the school year. With his new fishing rod and tackle box always nearby, Gus joins his grandfather to meet the rest of the family at the cabin up north. Life has a few surprises in store and everyone adjusts to a different weekend than planned.
Book #2 - Driving Me Crazy
Gus discovers the bully, Matt Driver, is causing trouble for more than just him, and it's worse than a little teasing. A Memorial Day weekend getaway camping is just the ticket, and gives Gus a chance to think through a solution for reigning in Matt's antics. Gus enjoys time fishing, swimming, biking and hiking around the headwaters of the Mississippi River and Lake Itasca with his new friend, Drew. But even that gets a little rocky and Drew and Gus share an adventure of their own.
Book #3 - Spare the Rod
Mom and Dad spring some news on the family and Gus' older brother Jake isn't thrilled with the surprise in the driveway on the last day of school. But summer vacation is here and Gus couldn't be happier. June means fun trips and lots of fishing and camping in addition to a break from school. A cousin's high-school graduation party in Wisconsin brings highs and lows with plenty of adventure. Gus shares a little windshield time with Dad where surprises lurk around every corner.
Book #4 - Duck, Duck Deuce
Gus is excited for the Fourth of July and all the fun that goes along with being at the lake with family and friends around. But this year there's a new friend sharing the adventures of campfires and s'mores -- a German foreign exchange student, Kat. In fact, the whole clan is arriving for fireworks on Excelsior Bay and then Zach and Riley's wedding at St. John's abbey. But cousin Deuce stirs up the dust again and quick starts everything off with a thrill. Enjoy this heart-of-the-summer adventure entitled Duck, Duck Deuce.
I am not embarrassed to say I love this book and wish every youth would take the time to read it. The book is written in a way that a young person can relate to and at the same time learn about fishing. I only wish that there was more books like this written for young people to read.
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