Double Feature: The Traveling Restaurant and Stories of the Wild West Gang


I can’t believe it has taken me over a month to finally start posting my Take Control of Your TBR Pile reviews.  I’ve already posted a couple, but I have a lot more to go.  In order to fit them all in and hopefully catch up (so that it doesn’t take a month after I’ve read something to post my review for it), I’m going to do double duty on some of these posts.  Today I’m bringing you two middle grade books: The Traveling Restaurant and Stories of the Wild West Gang.

The Traveling Restaurant by Barbara Else

Age Range: 9 and up

Series: None (I think)

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Gecko Press (January 1, 2012)

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Digital ARC from publisher via NetGalley

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

About the Book:

A pre-teen adventure/fantasy novel
filled with colorful characters, and a highly likeable young hero.

In the reign of Lady Gall (Provisional Monarch
of Fontania), the word ‘magic’ is forbidden…

When 12 year old Jasper Ludlow’s parents flee the city, he gets left behind and
finds refuge on The Traveling Restaurant, a sailing ship captained by old Dr
Rocket and crewed by feisty Polly.

Jasper faces challenges, adventures, storms and hungry pirates. Should he go in
search of his parents, or his lost baby sister? Who should he trust? And why is
Lady Gall hunting him? 

My Thoughts:

This is an interesting read. It’s a middle grade novel about a boy named
Jasper. His parents leave him behind when they flee from the clutches
of an evil Provisional Queen. He finds refuge on a small vessel called
The Traveling Restaurant. With the help of the boat’s Captain and
Polly (the only other crew member), he goes in search of his lost family
members while trying to elude the grasp of the Queen.

The book is well written and the plot is somewhat entertaining. There
are bursts of excitement, usually when the Restaurant pulls into harbor,
or when they meet another ship on the Old Ocean. Between these bursts,
parts of the story tend to drag. The content is clean, and the
characters are generally likable, yet elusive. Nobody answers questions—at least not honestly.

This book is for a specific type of reader.  I can’t decide if I liked it or not. If you have access to the
book (like through your library), give it a shot. You may love it.  There are some 5 star reviews on Goodreads HERE and HERE

Content: clean


Stories of the Wild West Gang by Joy Cowley

Age Range: 9 and up

Series: None

Genre: Historical fiction/anthology/humor

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: 21st Century; 1 edition (August 1, 2012)

Source: Digital ARC from publisher via NetGalley

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Michael is an only child of doting parents who believe that it is
important to know the right people, say the right things and live in the
right kind of house.
They are not exactly enthusiastic when their relatives the Wests move
into the next street but Michael can’t wait to spend more time with
Auntie Rosie, Uncle Leo and their five children who are known as the
wild West gang. No one in the West family has ever heard of the word
“tidy” and they all do exciting things that sometimes get them into

My Thoughts:

When his cousins move into town, Mickey’s parents are none too pleased.
Mickey’s home is calm, hygienic, and perfect. The West’s home is none of the
above. Mickey can’t help but love the chaos and excitement that goes
full speed at the West home, even if his cousins get in his nerves

This book doesn’t have much of a plot. Rather, it is a collection of
stories and antics about Mickey and his crazy relatives, in somewhat
chronological order. It is full of laughs and fun. It would be a great
book to read to kids before bed each night, or on a long car trip.
Several of the stories made me laugh out loud.

Content: a couple instances of profanity


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