Review: Jayden's Rescue by Vladimir Tumanov

This is 10 year old Kira's review of "Jayden's Rescue," a fantasy fiction math reader by Vladimir Tumanov:

It's a really good book about three kids. Alex finds a silver pencil that helps him with his math test, because he's not very good at math. If you put it in your hand and you put it on a piece of paper, whatever the math question is, the pencil writes the answer down all by itself. Alex shows the pencil to his best friend, Sam, and to Vanessa. Then he loses the pencil and when he does, a mysterious book called Jayden's Rescue turns up. He reads the book, and he finds out that a queen called Jayden was captured by a King Rechner because she wouldn't be his bride.

In the King's dungeon are 400 rooms, each with a monster in it. You find out the nature of the perilous silver castle by riddles and verses that are spoken by the characters in the book. The first room has a one-eyed monster, Monoculus, who wants to help the queen escape. Alex, Sam and Vanessa have to solve math puzzles and write them down to turn the next page of the book, and every time they turn a page, Jayden, with her paper in her hand has an identical answer. Alex finds that while solving the math puzzles with his friends to free Jayden, he is getting better at math in school.

After they set Jayden free by solving all 400 puzzles, King Rechner threatened the people who were helping Jayden. The kids think that Rechner was just bluffing to scare them away. They go to a camp bringing the book, Jayden's Rescue, with them. Alex and Vanessa's favorite sport is waterskiing, Sam's is sailing. Alex starts to water-ski, but only finds that the rope broke, and he fell out of his life jacket. Afterwards, he finds out the rope was cut and his lifejacket loosened. Later they see King Rechner come out of the water, giving them this riddle: "A bluff, you say? Does Rechner bluff? The game is up: you've played enough. It's time to pay for all you've done. Don't kid yourselves; you haven't won. You snatched my pencil and my bride! And then you thought you'd run and hide?! Well, think again, I play for keeps. Whoever steals from Rechner, weeps. I cut your rope; you couldn't float - I could have sunk that motorboat. But I will give you one more chance, although I warn you in advance: If Jayden's not brought back to me in seven days, I'll take you three."

They solve seven more puzzles to get a magic word that will protect them from Rechner. Rechner gets stuck in his own dungeon. Later the kids finally see Jayden in the real world. During the whole adventure the kids become very close friends.

Julie's note: The math in the book ranges from very easy addition/subtraction to multiplication, division, concepts like square numbers and exponents, and algebra. My daughter says you don't have to be able to solve all the math to enjoy the story, she didn't understand it all. There are some nice black and white illustrations throughout. For ages approximately 9 to 12 although your mileage may vary :o)