Friday, January 29, 2021

Review: 400 Minutes of Danger by Jack Heath

 It's Friday! To start the weekend, we're shifting into adrenaline pure. Nothing's better than a weekend packed with adventure and excitement, right? 

Today's read is just right for slipping a few action-packed moments in between the adventure of daily life, too. This is a collection of ten short stories. Each one is a quick, easy read and will get the blood pumping...and not only middle graders will enjoy this one. Older readers might like the extra tension bursts as well.



Off we go!

Countdown to Disaster #2
by Jack Heath
Sterling Children's Books
Upper Middle Grade Thriller / Adventure
192 pages
ages 8 to 12

Ten life-or-death situations. Ten brave kids. Ten linked stories. Each ordinary hero in this thrilling middle-grade adventure collection has only 40 minutes to escape!
Brad has fallen into a lion enclosure, and the big cats are hungry. Charith has to take the wheel of an out-of-control bus after an explosion. Tak's class trip to an army base is interrupted by an experimental military robot that's hunting them. How will they save themselves? This fast-paced short story collection stars everyday young heroes who must fight to survive . . . with only 40 minutes to figure out how to escape! Kids will be on the edge of their seats following these ten linked stories—even as a clock on the margins of every page counts down the seconds.



                                                 * every page packs action and tension
                                                 * each story can be read in less than 45 minutes
                                                 * not for sensitive readers
                                                 * kids save the day


Action junkies get a full adrenaline rush as every page packs high stakes, super tension, and impossible situations where quick thinking and trusting the gut are the only way to survive.

This is a collection of ten stories, where action and danger reign. Each tale is independent from the others, and each one shows a very different situation. The only similarities are that the heroes/heroines are kids and that every situation is life threatening. The threats come from nature as well as man as each one has a kid unexpectedly caught up in the middle of a disaster about to happen. It's not for the light-hearted or sensitive reader, since these do include violence, intended murder, and simply pure evil intentions...but some of these tales also arise from pure accidents, which arise without warning. In each one, the hero succeeds, but this knowledge does not make the tale any less tense.

As a clever, and extra high-stakes builder, each tale is accompanied by a count-down along the edge of the page, which signifies how much more time each tale has on the clock. I caught myself glancing at it, seeing how much time the heroes/heroines had, and how much had passed. (Just an extra fun).

But then, time is key in these tales, since each one hinges on the quick thinking and reactions. The author wastes no time throwing the reader into the situation and letting the danger fly until the last sentence of each story. This also means that settings and character depth isn't the point and little to no time is spent on this end. That does make the characters a little superficial and hard to really care for, but since these stories are so hard and fast, there's no time to consider that, either. As said, this is for action fans pure, who love the quick rush. 

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