THE IFS RETURN
by J.D. Pooker
Illustrated by Frank Walls
Little Devil Books
Middle Grade Fantasy
Ages: 8 to 12
These are the worst words Broden could hear from his big brother Landon—just one day after they battled alongside Slade’s Ifs and his army of forest beasts. Sure, the brothers had learned to work together to fight and capture the evil If Gage. But, now, Slade has informed them that Gage has escaped! Fear and distrust have entered the boys’ world. Why should they help Slade if he can’t keep control of his prisoners? Will they be able to fight against a familiar foe? Plus, Landon has more news… “Gage has magic.” What kind of magic? Will he use it against them? As the boys are drawn into yet more adventure with the Ifs, they find out just how powerful, and dangerous, Gage’s magic can be.
I didn't read the first book, but still had little trouble diving into this adventure. Although it took a couple pages to get a handle on the two main characters and what was going on, there's enough information to let a reader dive into the world without reading book one (however, I highly recommend grabbing the other book first because I'm pretty sure it's worth it.)
The author does a fantastic job introducing a tiny species, the Ifs. This little, honorable folk seeks out the help of two human brothers (again) to help against their greatest foe. I loved the descriptions and scenes--so easy to get lost in! The squirrels were an extra treat and added a nice touch of reality to the entire adventure.
The dialogue is right for the intended audience and the characters are true blue, even in the face of sibling squabbles. It's easy to get lost in their story and root for them the entire way through. At times, the descriptions could have been a bit tighter, but in general, the story moves along nicely. I can easily see this book as a great read-aloud for kids before they go to bed, or for older ones on their own.
Summed up, this is a fun adventure for kids ages 8+ which will send their fantasy on a wild ride and have them searching for an adventure of their own.
The Buzz About Book 1Check out the Book Review Blitz for the first book in the series, The Ifs for over 30 reviews of the book! Here is some of the buzz:
Angela Burkhead: “The Ifs is a tale of brotherhood, loyalty, and knightly valor as two human brothers fight in a great battle to save the Ifs from their rival tribes. But which tribe is in the right? Borrowing from such beloved stories as The Borrowers, Pooker adds a unique twist in creating a group of ‘little people’ who are seemingly self sufficient and militarized…”
Vincent N. (Goodreads): “Kind of reminded me of the movie “Epic” or Disney’s “Rescuers Down Under.” There is some action and the storyline itself, and with that I mean what’s actually happening, stirs the imagination.”
1977 Books: “A good and exciting read for a middle school age child. I like the message this story projected, brothers no matter what!”
Jane Ritz: ” “The Ifs” is a fabulous mystery for children 3-5th grade. It reminds me of “Where the wild Things Are” in a good and strange kind of way.”
SOS-Supply: “This book has it all – fighting, plotting, sibling rivalry, weird experiences, adventure, mystery and battles. In short, everything that appeals to middle school readers. The plot rolls along at a good pace and hooks you in from the very start, with believable characters that are easily related to – we all know a Landon and a Broden, right..? A must-have for any child’s library with real-life lessons built in.”
About the Author: J.D. Pooker
J.D. POOKER lives in wonderful Wyoming with her husband and two sons, along with a black lab named Ryder and a sweet kitty named Alia. J.D. likes to spend time with her family and go camping, fishing, and snowmobiling. Her sons, Landon and Broden, were the inspiration for The Ifs and The Ifs Return. The brothers enjoy camping, fishing, and snowmobiling with their parents. They also enjoy wrestling, playing with their Wii, their toy guns and bows and arrows, and their pets. J.D. can’t wait until her boys get older. She is sure they will have many fabulous adventures.