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Reviewed by Courtnee Turner Hoyle for Readers' Favorite
The Mysteries of Verner Castle is the first book in The Adventures of Tom and Andy Series by Edward Penner. Seven- and eight-year-old friends, Tom and Andy, are excited when the ground is broken for a new museum. They enjoy donating interesting items to museums. During the new museum's announcement, they learn they can visit Verner Castle, a historical landmark in their community. At the castle's gift shop, Tom sees a book about the castle's secrets, and the boys learn about the Lost Sword of Karl Verner, a stolen relic still missing. The boys vow to find the sword and donate it to the museum, but they must find it before the castle's greedy owner, Vincent Von Verner, locates the sword and sells the gems in the hilt.
Edward Penner has crafted a mystery that will thrill his young audience! Themes of friendship wind through the pages, and children can relate to Tom and Andy's dynamic. Young readers will follow the story easily, recognizing the distinctive characters and the direction of the plot. With full-color illustrations and decorative page borders, readers will become immersed in the tale, caught up in the boys' efforts to outrun Vincent Von Verner and locate the sword. Even though the book can be suspenseful, readers never feel as if the characters are in truly frightening situations that involve bodily harm. This chapter book hints at more secrets within the castle walls and summarizes the next adventurous book. Depending on their reading level, first- through fourth-grade children will enjoy The Mysteries of Verner Castle.