________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 39. . . .June 6, 2014


Greanwold and the Mystery Cave. (Greanwold and the Minosaurs Story Books, 1).

Michael J. Trigg.
North Vancouver, BC: Greanwold Interactive Inc. (www.greanwold.com), 2013.
139 pp., trade pbk., $12.97.
ISBN 978-1-61897-466-2.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

* /4



Keegan leapt off the bed in alarm and waved his arms at Greanwold, now an owl sitting upside down on the ceiling and looking down at Keegan’s mother as she entered the room with a glass of milk and some freshly baked cookies.

“Hi honey, I’ve got some milk and cookies for you. How are you feeling?”

She crossed the room and placed the milk and cookies on Keegan’s bedside table.

"You are supposed to be in bed young man. Why are you waving your arms and jumping around like that?"

Mrs. Clarke walked over to the window and opened the blinds as Keegan climbed back in bed. "Now it's very dark in here. Let's have some light in this room."

She crossed over to Keegan's bed and placed her hand on his forehead.

"Are you okay? You're looking very flushed. And you're supposed to be resting, not leaping around the room."

Keegan smiled weakly and closed his eyes to stop from looking at the upside down owl.

"Yes mom. I'm fine. Thanks for the cookies. Uh, I think I just need some rest okay."

Keegan dragged his gaze away from the upside down owl.

"I'm not a baby mom."


Although the cover illustration of Greanwold and the Mystery Cave looks intriguing, this junior fantasy doesn’t work. Perhaps the premise will make a good basis for an animated TV series, but, as a novel, there are too many problems with the presentation, plot and reading level for me to recommend this book.

     One of the most glaring problems is the repetition of information. In the excerpt above, we are told three times that Keegan’s mother has brought milk and cookies. In this short passage, Mrs. Clarke “crossed the room”, “walked over to the window”, and “crossed over to Keegan’s bed”. Those would be important stage directions, but in a novel that is too much crossing without furthering the plot.

     And I’m confused by Keegan’s eyes. Are they open or shut? Keegan “closed his eyes to stop from looking at the upside down owl” and then “dragged his gaze away from the upside down owl.”

     There are many other editing errors that impede the flow of the narrative. “Keegan stood on his on his bed”, and sometimes there are even two errors in one sentence. “Greanwold flew down so he is looked directly into in Keegan’s eyes.”

     Some of the characters speak with stilted English, and others use expressions which sound dated to me but may just seem unusual to younger readers. I can’t remember when the last time was that I read dialogue that included the words “dadblame it” or “okaaay dokeeey” or “gadzooks” or “crimminy”.

     I know that some junior age students love to pronounce the multisyllabic names of dinosaurs so perhaps names like Qoorkeelawold, and P-eyewold, and Texewold, Moa Constructor, and Datslob will appeal more to them than to me.

     The readability level of the book averages out to Grade 3 using a variety of different readability measures, but these calculations obscure the fact that some of the sentence structures will be difficult for the intended audience. The first sentence in the excerpt above has 43 words.

     The plot involves the evil Moa Constructor trying to take over the world by gaining control of the Great Harmonic and 10 of the Krystils. He has duped two henchmen, Reywal and Datslob, into helping him. Fortunately Greanwold, a morphing Minosaur and his young Minosaur friends join Keegan in saving the day. Add Keegan’s four human friends and one wise wizard and you have the cast of characters.

     The Table of Contents, an unusual feature for a novel, consists of plot summaries for the five sections into which the chapters are grouped.

Chapter One to Chapter Ten With the help of the mysterious Mr. Shama, 8 year old explorer and treasure hunter Keegan Clarke finds the mystery cave and meets Greanwold the Minosaur who rescues him from the evil Draegon, Moa Constructor. Along the way, Keegan has a run-in with the town bad guy Reywal DeKoorc and his robotic assistant Datslob.

     If this story ever becomes an animated TV series, perhaps this book will find a market. Stranger things have happened. If I had been asked to review a book about potential TV characters named Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, I probably wouldn’t have seem much chance for that concept either. Perhaps I’m wrong about Greanwold and the Mystery Cave, but I can’t recommend it.

Not Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson, a retired teacher-librarian, is currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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