Veronica and the Volcano

Children - Grade 4th-6th
320 Pages
Reviewed on 08/26/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

Veronica and the Volcano by Geoffrey Cook with illustrations by Gabrielle Shamsey is an adventure book for children. Veronica lives on a volcano, but there is nothing out of the ordinary about her. Deciding on a birthday present for her mother, Veronica talks her parents into letting her go to Mount Mystery, where she will find the pearls she is looking for. The journey is fraught with danger as they take the Lava car over Magma Pass, through the Cinnamon Forest, and over the Yellow Lake to get there - and then the real adventure starts. Pirates, diamonds, erupting volcanoes and then the choice of life or death. When Veronica chooses, the world falls apart and disaster ensues. Can Veronica and her friends save the day or will Crater Lake, their home town, disappear forever?

Veronica and the Volcano by Geoffrey Cook is a great adventure book. Special mention must be made of the illustrations by Gabrielle Shamsey – these really complemented the story and set it apart from many other books of its kind. This is a learning story as well – as Mr. Cook says, it complements the STEM curriculum and brings science to children at a level they can understand and learn from – and I learned quite a bit that I didn’t know! The glossary at the back was incredibly helpful in teaching us some of the scientific terms used as well. The story itself is fabulous, it has a great plot and it is all go from start to finish. There are some lively colorful characters here, all developed really well to a stage where I could identify with them. I was rooting for the girls and their families all the way through. Kids are going to love this book, it’s a fantastic action-packed adventure that they can lose themselves in for a few hours. I will definitely be reading more of the Veronica series!

Jack Magnus

Veronica and the Volcano is an action and adventure novel for children, grades 4-6, written by Geoffrey Cook and illustrated by Gabrielle Shamsey. Veronica and her family live on the side of a volcano, and most people might think that’s a pretty strange place to live, but they liked it just fine. Their volcano was an active one, but Veronica’s father had used his ingenuity and imagination to make their house secure against any errant lava flows or stray flaming boulders that the Old Girl, as they liked to call her, may emit. Veronica had a very important mission that was taking her and her father to the nearby town of Crater Lake -- her mother’s fortieth birthday was coming soon and Veronica wanted to get her a volcano pearl for this important event. Her dad had thought that the town’s only jewelry store would have one in stock, but the strange, elderly man who ran it said they were all out. He did mention where they might be found -- on the far side of Mount Mystery -- but Veronica’s dad just didn’t think that his daughter was old enough for that journey yet, or was she?

Veronica and the Volcano is a marvelous blend of adventure, fantasy, science fiction and science, and I had a grand time reading it. Who could have guessed at the experiences Veronica, Maddy and their fathers have as they take that coming of age journey to Mount Mystery? They’ll travel through caves, hike through a cloud forest of old growth redwoods, fig, cedar and teak, and endure the somewhat awful pranks of a troop of howler monkeys as they travel towards their goal. Along the way, they face certain death and destruction and make choices that can save a life or ensure their own doom.

There’s a lot happening in this exceptionally good book, and it all happens at breakneck speed. Gabrielle Shamsey’s ink and watercolor illustrations do a superb job of making Veronica, her beloved volcano and her adventures come to life. While I am often skeptical of the maps some authors include in their opening pages, Shamsey’s map of Mount Mystery and its environs was my faithful and much appreciated companion as I escaped reality and joined in Veronica’s quest. Cook’s story also weaves in important, and currently quite relevant, social issues such as the need for good people to stand up for what is right. While this is listed as a book for grades 4-6, I wouldn’t hesitate to get it for more advanced younger children as well as middle schoolers. Veronica and the Volcano is one of those special books that goes a long way and a lot farther than most books for any age group. It’s a grand read filled with fun, adventure and cunningly disguised educational tidbits, and I especially like the father/daughter teams Cook chose for his main characters. Veronica and the Volcano is most highly recommended.

Sarah Scheele

Veronica and the Volcano by Geoffrey Cook is an exciting adventure story for grades 4-6, with educational elements. It is designed to stir young readers' interest in science while entertaining them. Ten-year-old Veronica lives in a high-tech, gadget-filled house on the slope of an active volcano. Eruptions are a part of life, as she watches from the protective shields of her home. When she goes on a quest to find rare white volcanic pearls, she leads her father, her best friend Maddy, and her friend’s dad, the blustering Captain John, into a series of hair-raising adventures. But the dire words of a mysterious blind old jeweler tell her of a dangerous man in white—and before Veronica knows it, the adventure takes on an even bigger angle that threatens the whole town.

Geoffrey Cook creates an inventive, unusual story filled with twists and turns. Veronica and the Volcano really delivered on the angle of combining earth science with action elements. A glossary in the back provides an at-a-glance list of the facts in the book, but the story is interesting in its own right. Veronica was a spunky, completely relatable heroine who faces with courage every challenge relentlessly thrown in her direction. Pirates, time travel, pyroclastic flows, a crazed mob trying to sacrifice her to a volcano, and a trip through a jungle of monkeys were just some of the things she had to deal with. Veronica’s great relationship with her parents, especially her father, also stresses the importance of adults in kid’s lives. I rooted for this brave little girl every step of the way and while kids are cheering her on, they’ll learn as well.

Kristen Van Kampen (Teen Reviewer)

Veronica and the Volcano by Geoffrey Cook is a stunning chapter book about a young girl who is almost normal except for the fact that her home is on a volcano. Veronica's mom's birthday is coming up, and Veronica wants to get her something special. Eventually she decides to get her mom volcano pearls, but she finds out that she has to go all the way to Mount Mystery to get them. Together with her dad, her friend, Maddy, and Maddy's dad, the four venture out to climb Mount Mystery, despite the danger Mount Mystery could hold. Will Veronica get the pearls she wants? And more importantly, will they survive?

I really enjoyed reading Veronica and the Volcano by Geoffrey Cook. The book is very well written, with lots of descriptions. I was hooked by the opening line, and I didn't want to put the book down. The book is fast paced and a real page turner. The story will keep the reader on the edge of their seat in excitement. The characters are likeable and would make great role models, because they are smart and great at problem-solving. This book has many exciting and interesting scenes that made me gasp or laugh out loud. The pictures are very well drawn, are colourful, and clearly depict each scene. The story is absolutely thrilling and breathtaking. The author creates cool high tech gadgets for the story that readers will find fascinating. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.

Christian Sia

Veronica and the Volcano by Geoffrey Cook is a beautiful book for young readers, 4th – 6th graders. Set in another lifetime and in a land of lava and love, readers are introduced to Veronica, the girl with unusual beauty and lovely hazel eyes, who lived on a volcano. Veronica sets out with her friend, Maddy, and their dads on her “lava car” to cross the Magma Pass. They hike through the Cinnamon Forest, and traverse the poisonous Yellow Lake to journey to Mount Mystery. At Mount Mystery, the most challenging and hazardous part of their adventure begins, with geysers, boiling mud pots, and burning stones. Follow them as they press on right up to the top of the mountain where choices that could transform the world have to be made. Here Veronica must demonstrate a rare form of courage, but can she conquer what stands against her and the change the world needs?

I read this book with my six-year-old nephew and he was thrilled. Veronica is the kind of character that young readers will adore. She is beautifully imagined and created to appeal to young readers who will admire her courage, her selfless giving, and her devotion to family values. The plot is exciting, featuring intense moments of action. The adventure is filled with emotional intensity and action. Young readers will love the exciting setting with volcanoes and geysers and flaming rocks. Veronica and the Volcano is well-paced and the illustrations are excellent, capturing the story in wonderful and vivid images. Geoffrey Cook is a master entertainer for young readers and they will love these characters.