The Mysteries of Verner Castle

The Adventures of Tom and Andy Book 2

Children - Adventure
78 Pages
Reviewed on 12/07/2023
Buy on Amazon

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite

The Mysteries of Verner Castle is the second book in The Adventures of Tom and Andy series, written by Edward Penner and illustrated by Paul Schultz. Maple School best friends, Tom and Andy, learn that the incredible suit of armor that had belonged to Karl Verner - the man who built Verner Castle long ago - will be soon displayed at the castle. Excited, the boys cannot wait until the big day to see the armor arrive but quickly find some things are amiss. The castle's conference room is home to swords, helmets, paintings, and armor but the shield which is pictured on the wall is missing from the actual suit of armor. School bullies Jason and Kyle are now working at Verner Castle under the current owner, Vincent Von Verner. A competition is held for all to seek out and find the missing shield, but permission to enter any part of the castle must be sought from Jason, who thrives on bullying and throwing his weight around. As Tom awaits repairs on his very own Verner's Torch, he learns that finer details of metalwork can easily be found in fake replicas. Jason seems to have discovered the missing artifact but not all is as it seems.

I was quite taken by Edward Penner's The Mysteries of Verner Castle, not only in the story but also in the illustrations which blew my mind. Some of the characters in this series remind me of the days of Wacky Races, with Dick Dastardly and Mutley playing the parts of Jason and Vincent. I love that Tom and Andy are honest and their hearts are pure, which is shown as they always trying to help out the museum in town. Thwarting Vincent Von Verner's every move is a delight to read and I find that when I start reading the books in this series, it is nearly impossible to stop. The strength in Tom and Andy's positive intentions seems to overpower any dishonesty alluded to in the story. I highly recommend The Mysteries of Verner Castle to all readers aged 12 years and over, and cannot wait for the third book to be released.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Karl Verner opens up Verner Castle for everyone to view the antique armor from an ancestor. Tom and Andy, still in Verner’s bad books for damage done the last time they were at the castle, notice something missing from the armor: the shield. He points out the missing artifact and the challenge is presented that whoever finds the missing shield will be rewarded with a souvenir shield from the castle’s gift shop. In Edward Penner’s The Mysteries of Verner Castle, the two boys will be up against the same bullies in an effort to find the missing shield before anyone else does. However, the bullies may have the upper hand in this search.

Edward Penner’s middle-grade novel, The Mysteries of Verner Castle, is the second book in the Adventures of Tom and Andy series. The story is told in the third person narrative and follows Tom and Andy as they return to the castle to view the newly discovered armor and the mischief they manage to get up to, in spite of their best efforts to stay out of trouble. The language is simple, which will help young readers with their reading skills, and there’s lots of dialogue to move the story forward. The plot is fast-paced and full of action and adventure, not to mention the mystery that will have readers spellbound to the end. The illustrations add another dimension and certainly help to build the suspense. This is an intriguing mystery bound to attract young readers, even those who might be classified as reluctant readers.

Jennie More

In The Mysteries of Verner Castle, Book 2, by Edward Penner, Tom, a young boy, goes on a hunting expedition for treasures with his best friend and sidekick, Andy. Tom loves visiting Verner Castle, but he got into a lot of trouble after his last visit there, where he did some damage to the castle. However, it was worth it to Tom as he found Karl Verner's lost sword, but Vincent, the caretaker and owner of the castle, didn't believe him. This time, he returns to the castle with his friend Andy in search of the lost shield, but Verner will make it challenging. Verner cuts off Tom and Andy's access to various parts of the castle using their biggest adversary, Jason, who goes to school with them, to make it impossible for them to complete their search for the shield. But Tom doesn't give up; with enough curiosity, persistence, and perhaps some magic in the form of the Searcher, the monocle that once belonged to a pirate, Tom might still be able to find the real lost shield.

The Mysteries of Verner Castle by Edward Penner is an adventurous and delightful book for children. It's a well-written story with bright and appealing illustrations that complement and enhance the storyline. Tom is an endearing character who draws the reader in. His curiosity and enthusiasm are infectious, which makes you invested in him and his journey. Young boys will relate well with Tom as they identify traits of themselves in Tom. The characters are well-developed, especially the main character, Tom. The plot is well-thought-through, and the storyline is relevant and fascinating to children, teaching them valuable life lessons about curiosity and determination. The Mysteries of Verner Castle is a classic storybook that will encourage children to read because Penner focuses on developing a captivating plot and compelling characters.