Graysen Foxx and the Treasure of Principal Redbeard

Shadow Mountain. (Graysen Foxx, School Treasure Hunter). Mar. 2023. 256p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781639931033.
Gr 3-5–Treasure seeker Graysen Foxx is on the cusp of his greatest find: a laminated hall pass that will provide students in need with unlimited access to their elementary school. When his plan is foiled by his archnemesis the Red Raven, Graysen is stuck in detention. With gentle prodding from his classroom teacher and detention warden, he stumbles on to the discovery of the ages, that the fabled treasure of Principal Redbeard is real! With the help of two resourceful third grade assistants and an army of first grade soldiers, Graysen dodges a wily sixth grade mafia boss, the cranky janitorial cat, and a sneaky group of second grade spies as he tracks down the greatest fortune of all. With an overemphasis on heavy-handed social-emotional lessons and underdeveloped characters, this high-octane adventure falls flat. Stilted and unnatural dialogue makes the characters feel more like plot and theme devices instead of relatable, authentic individuals. Riddled with awkward similes, such as “the school clocks were as unreliable as a potty-training three-year-old,” and a storyline that is too far-fetched to be believable, this plot-heavy adventure will find a limited readership.
VERDICT Not recommended for purchase.

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